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CORNELL STUDIES IN ENGLISH 

EDITED BY 

JOSEPH QUINCY ADAMS 

CLARK SUTHERLAND NORTHUP 

MARTIN WRIGHT SAMPSON 



THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

OF 

WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 

A CRITICAL EDITION 



BY 

ABBIE FINDLAY POTTS 

Instructor in English in Vassar College 



A Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School of Cornell University 

in Partial Fulfilment of the Requirements for the 

Degree of Doctor of Philosophy 




NEW HAVEN: YALE UNIVERSITY PRESS 

LONDON: HUMPHREY MILFORD 

OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS 

MDCCCCXXII 



Copyright, 1922 
BY YALE UNIVERSITY PRESS 



First Published in November, 1922 




MAYS 1955 



TO 

PROFESSOR LANE COOPER 
IN GRATITUDE FOR HIS HELP 



PREFACE 

A century has gone by since the publication of the Ecclesi- 
astical Sketches; but the problems of social life in 1922 are not 
unlike those on which Wordsworth meditated in 1822. With 
us, also, recovery from war, rash industrial and political 
adventure, hunger for novelty or variety in the management 
of schools and churches, have confused the national mind, 
and we still need this poet's interpretation of the spiritual 
history of his country. Nor may we without a careful review 
assert that we are a hundred years wiser. Therefore the time 
and the circumstances appear fitting for a critical edition of 
the series finally known as Ecclesiastical Sonnets. 

Professor Lane Cooper of Cornell University suggested that 
I prepare this edition, and has throughout the undertaking 
directed my research. I am deeply indebted to him for 
scholarly counsel, and for aid ap well in the humbler concerns 
of my task. I wish also to acknowledge the friendly and 
expert guidance of Professor Ben ton S. Monroe and Professor 
George P. Bristol in other, but allied, subjects; and to the 
members of the Committee charged with the Cornell Studies 
in English I here express my gratitude for their courtesy and 
support in publishing a centennial edition of the Ecclesiastical 
Sonnets. 

For the permission to photograph and to print manuscript? 
I am obliged to the late Mrs. Henry A. St. John, and to her 
daughter, Mrs. David Kennedy Eraser; with great kindness 
they allowed me the use of their Wordsworth collection, and 
made my labors in it the easier by their cordial interest. 
Miss Georgina Melville, whose preliminary investigation of 
this series had not been completed, generously placed in my 
hands the results of her study. My obligation to previous 
editors and students of Wordsworth is elsewhere indicated in 
detail. 

vii 



viii THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

The text is that of the Poetical Works of 1850. I have 
followed Hutchinson (Poetical Works, Oxford edition) in the 
use of -ed for 'd, and in these spellings: sea-mew, recompense, 
mead, control, aery, chestnut, Chicheley, mother-spray, recall, 
and recalls, Russell's, couldst, and His and Him in reference to 
Christ; and I have consistently printed through and though 
and Christian instead of thro 1 and tho' and Christian. Believing 
that Wordsworth's comma often denotes emphasis or modu- 
lation, I have retained it in several instances where Hutchinson 
has discarded it; but I have adopted Hutchinson's punctua- 
tion in Eccl. Son. 3.29.3 and 341.3; and for 3.9.5-8 I have 
adopted the punctuation of the text of 1846. I have used 
single instead of double quotes throughout the text. 

References to Wordsworth's other poems are made by 
means of the catch-titles used in Professor Cooper's Concor- 
dance to the Poems of William Wordsworth. 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 

INTRODUCTION 

General Discussion I 

Date of Composition 27 

Manuscripts 30 

Editions 42 

Structure 60 

MANUSCRIPT F 79 

ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

Table of Contents 112 

Advertisement of 1822 117 

Note of 1827 118 

Text of 1850 119 

VARIANT READINGS 186 

NOTES . ... 205 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 305 

INDEX 309 



ILLUSTRATIONS 

Facsimile of a page of the letter from Wordsworth to 
Henry Reed, September 4, 1842. In the collection 
of Mrs. St. John facing 32 

Facsimile of Mary Wordsworth's script, July 1 8, 1842. 

In the collection of Mrs. St. John facing 40 

Facsimile of MS. F, p. 51. In the collection of Mrs. 

St. John facing 42 

Interior of King's College Chapel, Cambridge. Repro- 
duced from an engraving by J. Greig in George Dyer's 
History of the University and Colleges of Cambridge, 
London, 1814. facing 58 



INTRODUCTION 
GENERAL DISCUSSION 



The Ecclesiastical Sonnets, written when Wordsworth was 
fifty-one years old, should reveal him as a profound thinker 
and a powerful artist. During his career he had with more 
and more success labored for the perfect union of love and 
reason, those mutual factors in both life and art. Laodamia 
notably achieves this union in art; and the words of Pro- 
tesilaus to Laodamia indicate the cost of the union in life as 
well: transports shall be moderated, mourning shall be meek; 
lofty thought embodied in act has wrought deliverance ; reason 
and self-government are to control rebellious passion, and 
thus affections will be raised and solemnized. 1 But these 
words are the very message of the Ecclesiastical Sonnets, and 
in this very temper Wordsworth receives upon his affections 
the burden of institutional reason and traditional government. 
Has he profited by his own counsel? Is his art delivered by 
his lofty thought? Although in the third sonnet of the series 
he writes of Druid and Christianity, he might ask the question 
about himself, too: 

Haughty the Bard: can these meek doctrines blight 
His transports? wither his heroic strains? 

Some there are, however, who feel that Wordsworth's 
history of the Church of England, his poetical record of a 
nation's love and reason, of its lofty thought embodied in act, 
is not a successful or characteristic poem. To many he 
remains chiefly the bard of external nature and of the sensa- 
tions, moods, and feelings celebrated in the poem on the Wye. 
Even trained readers have marked those passages of his life 

1 Laod. 77, 137-8, 140, 73-4, 144. 
2 1 



2 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

and art which indicate that he is an ecstatic poet, an oracle 
rather than a builder. The first half of his life has been the 
more thoroughly studied by himself in The Prelude; by his 
sister in her Journals; by Coleridge in his critical notes ; and 
in the recent interpretation of Professors Legouis and Harper, 
to both of whom his earlier poetry is more congenial. And 
hence Harper's conclusion that Wordsworth's life was 'broken 
in the middle,' 1 and Minto's belief that 'after 1807 there is a 
marked falling off in the quality, though not in the quantity, 
of Wordsworth's poetic work,' 2 may arise somewhat from the 
general lack of scholarly regard for the later poetry, and some- 
what from personal distaste. In the minds of these critics 
meek doctrines have indeed blighted the transports of the 
bard, and withered his heroic strains. 

If the Ecclesiastical Sonnets are to take their rightful place 
in a survey of Wordsworth's art, his career must be thought 
o'f as homogeneous; and this conception would be Words- 
worth's own. In the year 1815 he was anxious that the 
arrangement of his poems should 'correspond with the course 
of human life,' and should exhibit 'the three requisites of a 
legitimate whole, a beginning, a middle, and an end.' 3 But 
much earlier he had been concerned for 'the pleasure which 
the mind derives from the perception of similitude in dissimili- 
tude,' and he believed that upon this perception 'depend our 
taste and our moral feelings.' 4 'Homogeneous' is not a novel 
epithet for Wordsworth. It gave Coleridge 'great pleasure, 
as most accurately and happily describing him ' ; 5 Dowden 
approves, and Harper quotes, the opinion of Coleridge ; 6 and 

1 William Wordsworth, 1916, 1.6. 
2 Enc. Brit., eleventh ed., 28.830. 

3 Preface to the edition of 1815, Poetical Works, Oxford ed., 1909, pp. 

954-5- 

4 Preface to the second edition of Lyrical Ballads, Prose Works, ed. by 
Knight, 1896, 1.68. 

5 Letters of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, ed. by E. H. Coleridge, 1895, 1.373. 
The letter quoted was written July 13, 1802. 

6 Dowden 's Memoir, P. W., Aldine ed., 1892-3, i.xxii; and Harper's 
William Wordsworth 2.44. 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 3 

Christopher Wordsworth referred to the 'continuous stream 
of identity ' l which flowed from the poet's earliest to his latest 
poems. Of the probable deviations in such a stream Words- 
worth himself had given warning; 2 but he was sure that the 
stream advanced. In the Character of the Happy Warrior the 
combatant is one 

Who, not content that former worth stand fast, 
Looks forward, persevering to the last. 

So, too, a poet would direct the orderly advance of his books: 

Go, single yet aspiring to be joined 

With thy Forerunners that through many a year 

Have faithfully prepared each other's way. 3 

Wordsworth was not unconscious of the charges brought 
against him of reaction, political and literary; 4 and as well 
in literature as in politics did he face the accusation and 
answer it, asserting his fidelity to principle, and scorning the 
implication that witji year? and experience he had become 
less wise. His respect for the aged ' Bards of mightier grasp ' 
grew as normally as his respect for constitutions and liturgies. 
He hailed ever more devotedly Ossian, 'the Son of Fingal'; 
Homer, 'blind Maeonides of ampler mind'; and 'Milton, to 
the fountain-head of glory by Urania led. ' 5 He remarked 
in a letter to Talfourd that the great works of Chaucer, Milton, 
Dryden, and Cowper were' composed 'when they were far 
advanced in life. ' 6 

Since Wordsworth himself has opened the way for a com- 
parison between the years of the artist and the nature of the 
work of art, additional evidence may be offered. Bede was. 
an old man when he wrote the Ecclesiastical History; Alfred 

1 Memoirs of William Wordsworth, ed. by Reed, 1851, 1.4-5. 

2 Reply to the Letter of Mathetes, Prose Works 1.90. 

3 In desultory 17-19, Prelude to the Poems Chiefly of Early and Late Years. 

4 Letters of the Wordsworth Family, ed. by Knight, 1907, 2.162. 

5 Ossian 53, 79-82. 

6 Letters 3.115. 



4 THE" ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

translated Bede and Gregory late in his career ; and the Re- 
public and the Divina Commedia, no less than the epics of 
Chaucer and Milton, were tasks ' hallowed by time.' More 
and Spenser were early productive, but Bacon's labors con- 
tinued with unabated success, and Shakespeare's Tempest 
reflects the wisdom of age, not of youth. St. Augustine, the 
prototype for the modern world of the poet who is a builder, 
wrote his De Civitate Dei with three score of his years behind 
him; and according to Bryce 'it is hardly too much to say that 
the Holy Empire was built upon the foundation of the De 
Civitate Dei.' ! Indeed, these works of these men are all pro- 
found studies of the spiritual history and destiny of mankind. 
They are contemplative and mature; they betoken judgment 
and long experience in the artists who produced them. 

As we have noted, Wordsworth was fifty-one when he wrote 
the Ecclesiastical Sonnets. This fact of itself does not prove 
the excellence of his poem, but it indicates that his develop- 
ment was typical : the natural phenomena of his country and 
the humble activities of his fellow-men made way in his mind 
for a loftier theme, the spiritual history of a people. So Virgil 
had renounced Eclogues and Georgics for his ALneid. Words- 
worth like Dante, Spenser, and Milton, even like Augustine, 
Alfred, and Bede, accepted the final challenge of life and art. 

II 

How would Wordsworth conceive the spiritual history of a 
people? Here, above all, he would be like himself homo- 
geneous. In spite of his desire to be a recluse, the advance 
in his art, as Minto remarks, had always come to him 'not 
in his seclusion, but when he was in contact with his fellow- 
men.' 2 'Stand no more aloof! ' is the exhortation common to 
Lyrical Ballads, the Poems of 1807, the Convention of Cintra, 
and the Ecclesiastical Sonnets, these four works being in a 

1 The Holy Roman Empire, 1904, p. 94, note. 

2 Wordsworth's Great Failure, Nineteenth Century for September, 1889, 
p. 449. 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 5 

sense a return to the objective world from the preoccupation 
of Guilt and Sorrow and The Borderers; from The Prelude, 
whose theme is self; from The White Doe, whose 'objects 
. . . derive their influence, not from properties inherent in 
them, not from what they are actually in themselves, but from 
such as are bestowed upon them by the minds of those who 
are conversant with or affected by those objects'; 1 and, 
finally, from the unsubstantial theme of The Recluse. 

In 1793, after a crisis evident in Guilt and Sorrow and The 
Borderers, Wordsworth was as one betrayed by nature and by 
judgment. Whether this betrayal had wrought havoc with 
his personal affections or his social ideals is here of little 
concern. The remedy lay in a rededication : 

Long have I loved what I behold, 

The night that calms, the day that cheers; 

The common growth of mother-earth 

Suffices me her tears, her mirth, 

Her humblest mirth and tears. 2 

Out of this humility came the Prologue to Peter Bell, Peter 
Bell itself, and the personages in Lyrical Ballads. The poet 
recovered the simple, traditional utterance of English verse ; 3 
he abandoned the boat twin-sister of the crescent moon, the 
realm of faery, the might of magic lore, the dragon's wing. 4 
Like another Antaeus, from his contact with mother-earth 
Wordsworth drew both courage and refreshment, as is proved 
by his keen analyses in the Preface of 1800, his exact deline- 
ation in the Poems on the Naming of Places, and those ' present 
gifts of humbler industry,' 5 the first two books of The Prelude. 
In the words of his letter to Coleridge, 1809, he now sought 
objects 'interesting to the mind, not by its personal feelings 
or a strong appeal to the instincts or natural affections, but 
to be interesting to a meditative or imaginative mind, either 

1 Letters 2.68. 

2 P. B. 131-5. 

3 Cf. Barstow, Wordsworth's Theory of Poetic Diction, 1917. 
*P. B. 80, 101, no, 136. 

B Prelude 1.133-4. 



6 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

from the moral importance of the pictures, or from the em- 
ployment they give to the understanding affected through the 
imagination, and to the higher faculties.' l Now, too, he 
had found 

A hoary pathway traced between the trees, 

And winding on with such an easy line 

Along a natural opening, that I stood 

Much wondering how I could have sought in vain 

For what was now so obvious. 2 

Although this pathway led through a profound study of 
self, The Prelude, yet thence, moderated and composed, with 
an enthusiasm for humanity transcending his enthusiasm for 
external nature and his enthusiasm for his own lofty hopes, 
Wordsworth made his second definite return: henceforth he 
would exercise his skill even more devotedly, 

Not in Utopia, subterranean fields, 
Or some secreted island, Heaven knows where! 
But in the very world, which is the world 
Of all of us, the place where, in the end, 
We find our happiness, or not at all! 3 

The Ode to Duty and the Character of the Happy Warrior show 
the result of this adjustment. Moreover, Wordsworth had 
partaken of 'the very world' in certain intimate and memor- 
able ways. After the death of John Wordsworth he could 
write: 

A deep distress hath humanized my Soul. 4 

From his bereavement grew the sense of a holier joy, which, 
with the renewed yearning for seclusion, is expressed in The 
White Doe, the fairest image of one side of Wordsworth's 
genius, and in temper akin to the Ecclesiastical Sonnets. Yet 
the solution of The White Doe, as its motto implies, is meek 

1 Letters 3.473. 

2 When, to 47-52. 

3 Prelude 1 1 . 1 39-43 . 

4 Peele Castle 36. 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 7 

and heroic, but not rational; and the poem itself appears as 
'faintly, faintly tied to earth' as was its heroine, standing like 
her 'apart from human cares.' 1 Of this Wordsworth must 
have been aware, for again he turned his eye upon life's daily 
prospect ; following his method in The Happy Warrior and in 
the existent sonnets, he directed his thought to 'social and 
civic duties, chiefly interesting to the imagination through the 
understanding'; 2 and he restated the problems of will, duty, 
morality, justice, and virtue. His open-minded study of the 
writings of Bacon, Thomas Browne, and Weever, of geog- 
raphies and books of travel, of the sources of contemporary 
history, gave him new power over the essay, the scientific 
treatise, and the political pamphlet. Nor was he a superficial 
student of natural and moral science ; witness the Description 
of the Scenery oj the Lakes and the Convention o$ Cintra. 

Meanwhile Wordsworth's explicit purpose for The Recluse 
had undergone a change. In 1798, as we learn from a letter 
to James Tobin, this poem was to give pictures of 'Nature, 
Man, and Society'; 3 in 1814, when a part was published as 
The Excursion, the whole was in conception still a poem of 
'views,' but the order of the theme had been changed to 
'Man, Nature, and Society,' and the author spoke through 
intervenient dramatic characters. 

Minto has keenly analyzed The Recluse, Wordsworth's 
'great failure/ 4 but lets fall no hint of a possible alternative 
for such a philosophical poem. To him the actual value even 
of The Excursion is found in the passages where Wordsworth 
is speaker, the record of the poet's 'own moods,' 'the harvest 
of his own long observation and cheerful fancy, the fortitude 
of his own resolute will.' But this resort to what was merely 
'his own' was the same blind alley into which Wordsworth 
had gone on the banks of the Wye, the same tangle of phantom 
characters as in The Borderers, projections of the poet's self. 

1 White Doe 1864-5, 1859. 

2 Letters 3473-4- 

3 Letters 1.115. 

4 Op. cit. in the Nineteenth Century, pp. 435-51. 



8 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

Was it not to turn the light dawning from the east into a 
1 steady morning ' l that The Prelude was written ? And is 
The Excursion not powerful because in it the poet as a drama- 
tist has grappled with the minds of men, not the mind of 
Wordsworth alone? 

Four months after The Excursion was published Wordsworth 
wrote to R. P. Gillies: 'Our inability to catch a phantom of 
no value may prevent us from attempting to seize a precious 
substance within our reach.' 2 Phantom or substance, The 
Recluse was never completed. Presumably its author under- 
stood his own great failure as well as Minto, and at last came 
to realize that 'philosophy means love of wisdom true wisdom 
is to let insoluble problems alone.' 3 Be that as it may, 
Wordsworth's explicit comment on great failures is adequate 
to his own circumstances: memory has too fondly hung on 
'new-planned cities and unfinished towers'; self is to be 
annulled, 

her bondage prove 
The fetters of a dream opposed to love.* 

So Wordsworth understood and partook of the experience 
of Chaucer, Virgil, Hooker, the giants of Malham Cove, and 
the cathedral-builders of Cologne: his mortal hopes, too, were 
defeated, and he did not miss 

the sole true glory 
That can belong to human story! 
At which they only shall arrive 
Who through the abyss of weakness dive. 
The very humblest are too proud of heart. . . . 
Say not that we have vanquished but that we survive. 5 

There is no evidence that Wordsworth formally abandoned 
The Recluse; on the contrary, as late as 1824 he still hesitated 

1 Prelude 1.127. 
, 2 Letters 2.39. 

3 Op. cit. in the Nineteenth Century, p. 443. 

4 Laod. 132, 149-50. 

5 Ode: Thanks. 83-7, 91. Cf. also Malham, and the Journals of Dorothy 
Wordsworth, ed. by Knight, 1897, 2.178-9. 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 9 

before 'the task so weighty.' 1 Moreover, there is no reason 
to think that the Ecclesiastical Sonnets constitute Part 3 of the 
philosophical poem about 'Man, Nature, and Society.' Their 
theme is nature, man, and God, the 'introduction, progress, 
and operation of the Church in England.' Here the poet 
would trace man's relation to God in its actual lineaments; 
once more he had returned to 'mother-earth, her humblest 
mirth and tears,' and in so doing he was, may it be repeated, 
like himself, 'homogeneous.' 

Ill 

The Ecclesiastical Sonnets take for granted a polity , both of 
State and of Church, based upon Wordsworth's slowly- formed 
conviction that justice was not an obligation of one man or 
of one epoch, but the wise, brave, temperate expression of a 
society rooted in the past and hopeful for the future. To 
such a society the 'faith that elevates the just' 2 would be 
added like 'a breeze which springs up ... to assist the 
strenuous oarsman.' 3 From the diatribes of 1793, when he 
regarded Burke's fidelity to compact as 'a refinement in 
cruelty' which would 'yoke the living to the dead,' 4 to his 
eulogy of Burke in The Prelude, Wordsworth had fixed his 
inward eye as relentlessly upon ' Institutes and Laws, hallowed 
by time,' and ' social ties endeared by Custom' 5 as ever upon 
a primrose by a river's brim. What he saw was as imagi- 
natively seen as his jocund company of daffodils : 

'The Constitution of England, which seems about to be 
destroyed, offers to my mind the sublimest contemplation 
which the history of society and government have ever pre- 
sented to it; and for this cause especially, that its principles 
have the character of preconceived ideas, archetypes of the 

1 Letters 2.237. 

2 Primrose 51. 

3 Convention of Cintra, Prose Works 1.211. 

4 Letter to the Bishop of Llandaff, Prose Works 1.25. 

5 Prelude 7.526-8. 



10 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

pure intellect, while they are, in fact, the results of a humble- 
minded experience.' 1 



By the same discipline he learnt 'the art of bringing words 
rigorously to the test of thoughts; and these again to a com- 
parison with things, their archetypes, contemplated first in 
themselves, and secondly in relation to each other.' 2 He 
acknowledged the duty not alone of weighing 'the moral 
worth and intellectual power of the age in which we live,' but 
of determining 'what we are, compared with our ancestors.' 3 
For, he believed, 'there is a spiritual community binding 
together the living and the dead: the good, the brave, and 
the wise of all ages. We would not be rejected from this 
community: and therefore do we hope.' 4 And therefore did 
Wordsworth celebrate those 'golden opportunities when the 
dictates of just : ce may be unrelentingly enforced, and the 
beauty of the inner mind substantiated in the outward act.' 5 
Justice was his theme, and his voice was raised for mankind. 6 
This conception of justice, this idea of a spiritual State 
binding together the living and the dead, was for Wordsworth 
substantiated in the outward acts of ethical, poetical, and 
religious beauty as well. 'Usages of pristine mould' and 
'ancient manners' seemed precious revelations of the 'far-off 
past.' 7 He coveted 'some Theban fragment,' or 'tender- 
hearted scroll of pure Simonides.' 8 And above all, perhaps, 
he valued the record left in stone and ritual of his country's 
ecclesiastical history. To churchly images, as the years went 
by, he had referred the most intimate associations of his life 
and work; he was, his nephew remarked, 'predisposed to 

1 Memoirs, ed. by Reed, 2.259. 

2 Epitaphs 2, Prose Works 2.164. 

3 Prose Works 1.85. 

4 Prose Works 1.272. 
6 Prose Works 1.215. 

6 Prose Works 1.213. 

7 Dedication to The River Duddon, The minstrels 59, 55, 72. 

8 Departing summer 52-4. 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 11 

sympathize with a form of religion which appears to afford 
some exercise for the imaginative faculty.' l 

Mr. Gordon Wordsworth finds slender evidence for the 
poet's religious observance during boyhood; 2 but the .cross, 
the distant spire, and the chapel-bell all take their place in 
the early poems. 3 Even Peter Bell knew the spire of Sarum, 4 
profane rover though he was. 

Not less frequently but much more appreciatively did 
Wordsworth and his sister in their travels look upon monastic 
ruin and cathedral spire. On their way to Calais in 1802 
Dorothy saw St. Paul's as a significant part of the view her 
brother delineated in the sonnet Composed upon Westminster 
Bridge. In 1803 the pinnacles of Inverary recalled to her the 
spires of Yorkshire. 5 Then, too, Wordsworth's plans for a 
winter garden at Coleorton included 'a pool of water that 
would reflect beautifully the rocks with their hanging plants, 
the evergreens upon the top, and, shooting deeper than all, 
the naked spire of the church.' 6 

The spire of Brompton Parish Church, 'under which,' 
Wordsworth reminded Wrangham, 'you and I were made 
happy men, by the gift from Providence of excellent wives,' 7 
perhaps shot deeper and pointed higher than any other in his 
experience; but the ecclesiastical symbol was not alien to his 
bleak and sorrowful days. When most anxious to repair his 
friendship with Coleridge, he wrote from Grasmere to Sir 
George Beaumont, April 8, 1808: 

'You will deem it strange, but really some of the imagery 
of London has, since my return hith'er, been more present to 
my mind than that of this noble vale. I left Coleridge at 
seven o'clock on Sunday morning, and walked towards the 
city in a very thoughtful and melancholy state of mind. I 

1 Memoirs, ed. by Reed, 2.151. 

2 The Boyhood of Wordsworth, in Cornhill Magazine, N. S. 48 (1920). 419. 

3 Desc. Sk. Quarto 70; Guilt 21; Bord. 1651. 

4 P. B. 212. 

5 Journals 2.25. 

6 Letters 1.279. 

7 Letters 1.429. 



12 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

had passed through Temple Bar and by St. Dunstan's, noticing 
nothing, and entirely occupied with my own thoughts, when, 
looking up, I saw before me the avenue of Fleet Street, silent, 
empty, and pure white, with a sprinkling of new-fallen snow, 
not a cart or carriage to obstruct the view, no noise, only a 
few soundless and dusky foot-passengers here and there. You 
remember the elegant line of the curve of Ludgate Hill in 
which this avenue would terminate; and beyond, towering 
above it, was the huge and majestic form of St. Paul's, solem- 
nized by a thin veil of falling snow. I cannot say how much 
I was affected at this unthought-of sight in such a place, and 
what a blessing I felt there is in habits of exalted imagination. 
My sorrow was controlled, and my uneasiness of mind not 
quieted and relieved altogether seemed at once to receive 
the gift of an anchor of security.' l 

The reader in search of a stern association of image and 
idea will pass the chance comments of Dorothy on churching, 
church-going, and christening, 2 but will not fail to note a 
figure in the Convention of Cintra: 

1 If the gentle passions of pity, love, and gratitude be porches 
of the temple ; if the sentiments of admiration and rivalry be 
pillars upon which the structure is sustained; if, lastly, hatred, 
and anger, and vengeance, be steps which, by a mystery of 
nature, lead to the House of Sanctity; then was it manifest 
to what power the edifice was consecrated ; and that the voice 
within was of Holiness and Truth.' 3 

And Wordsworth most effectively applies this figure in the 
Preface to The Excursion, 1814: 

'The two works [The Prelude and The Recluse] have the 
same kind of relation to each other ... as the antechapel 
has to the body of a Gothic church. Continuing this allusion, 
he [the author] may be permitted to add that his minor 
pieces, which have been long before the public, when they 
shall be properly arranged, will be found by the attentive 
reader to have such connection with the main work as may 

' L etter $,1.34.9. 

2 Harper, William Wordsworth 2.51; and Letters 1.298, 2.5. 

3 Prose. Works 1.205. 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 13 

give them claim to be likened to the little cells, oratories, and 
sepulchral recesses ordinarily included in those edifices.' 

Henceforth the poet easily and habitually referred to 
ecclesiastical architecture. Of the images gleaned from the 
tour on the Continent in 1820 many are of such origin; thus: 
'the silent avenues of stateliest architecture' in the city that 
was 'one vast temple'; 'pinnacle and spire' and 'Convent- 
tower ' ; ' grey rocks ... shaped like old monastic turrets ' ; 
the 'unfinished shafts' of the cathedral at Cologne; 'lurking 
cloistral arch'; the 'ancient Tower'; 'the firm unmoving 
cross'; 'the chapel far withdrawn'; the 'holy Structure'; 
'shrine of the meek Virgin Mother'; 'holy enclosure' and 
'sacred Pile'; 'sainted grove' and 'hallowed grot.' All these 
composed for one with eye and mind alike sensitive to their 
beauty 

The venerable pageantry of Time. 

Returning to the 'awful perspective' of King's College 
Chapel and the church to be erected by Sir George Beaumont, 
Wordsworth was, it may well seem to the student of his life 
and art, inevitably destined to write an ecclesiastical poem. 
Yet he 

dreamt not of a perishable home 
Who thus could build. 1 

Outward acts, the reverent statesmanship in ritual and cathe- 
dral of the 'perfected spirits of the just,' 2 never obscured for 
him 'the eternal city,' the beauty of the inner mind, whose 
constitution, like the Constitution of other cities, must still 
be the result of a humble-minded experience. Then would 
come faith, to elevate the just. So in 1827 he put his own 
best interpretation upon the Ecclesiastical Sonnets: 

For what contend the wise? for nothing less 
Than that the Soul, freed from the bonds of Sense, 
And to her God restored by evidence 
Of things not seen, drawn forth from their recess, 

l Eccl. Son. 3.45.1-2. 
*Ecd. Son. 3.47.14. 



14 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

Root there, and not in forms, her holiness; 

For Faith, which to the Patriarchs did dispense 

Sure guidance, ere a ceremonial fence 

Was needful round men thirsting to transgress; 

For Faith, more perfect still, with which the Lord 

Of all, himself a Spirit, in the youth 

Of Christian aspiration, deigned to fill 

The temples of their hearts who, with his word 

Informed, were resolute to do his will, 

And worship him in spirit and in truth. 1 

IV 

Was Wordsworth the first to present 'in verse' 'certain 
points in the ecclesiastical history' of England, to use his 
own modest phrase? Henry Crabb Robinson says that 
Thelwell in 1799 believed himself about to be a famous epic 
poet, and 'thought the establishment of Christianity and the 
British Constitution very appropriate subjects for his poem.' 2 
Wordsworth may have heard of Thelwell's project, directly 
or indirectly, but it is wiser to refer the theme of Ecclesiastical 
Sonnets to his own habit of choice. He was not one of those 
whom he reprobated in the Postscript, 1835: 

'They who are the readiest to meddle with public affairs, 
whether in Church or State, fly to generalities, that they may 
be eased from the trouble of thinking about particulars; and 
thus is deputed to mechanical instrumentality the work which 
vital knowledge only can do well.' 3 

Moreover, he had already (in 1814) celebrated the Church and 
State of England : 

Hail to the crown by Freedom shaped to gird 
An English Sovereign's brow! and to the throne 
Whereon he sits! Whose deep foundations lie 
In veneration and the people's love; 
Whose steps are equity, whose seat is law. 
Hail to the State of England! And conjoin 
With this a salutation as devout, 

1 EccL Son. 2.30, added to the series in 1827. 

2 Diary, ed. by Sadler, 1869, 1.37. 

3 P. W., Oxford ed., p. 963. 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 15 

Made to the spiritual fabric of her Church; 
Founded in truth; by blood of Martyrdom 
Cemented; by the hands of Wisdom reared 
In beauty of holiness, with ordered pomp, 
Decent and unreproved. . . . 
And O, ye swelling hills and spacious plains! 
Besprent from shore to shore with steeple-towers, 
And spires whose 'silent finger points to heaven'; 
Nor wanting, at wide intervals, the bulk 
Of ancient minster lifted above the cloud 
Of the dense air, which town or city breeds 
To intercept the sun's glad beams may ne'er 
That true succession fail of English hearts, 
Who, with ancestral feeling, can perceive 
What in those holy structures ye possess 
Of ornamental interest, and the charm 
Of pious sentiment diffused afar, 
And human charity, and social love. 1 

In 1798 Wordsworth reached a conviction never afterward 
abandoned by him, that the materials of poetry 'are to be 
found in every subject which can interest the human mind.' 2 
Later he confirmed and explained this statement: 

'Poetry is the first and last of all knowledge it is as im- 
mortal as the heart of man. ... If the time should ever 
come when what is now called science, . . . familiarized to 
men, shall be ready to put on, as it were, a form of flesh and 
blood, the poet will lend his divine spirit to aid the transfigur- 
ation, and will welcome the being thus produced, as a dear 
and genuine inmate of the household of man.' 3 

Thus Dante had embodied and transfigured astronomy and 
theology; thus Shakespeare had turned to 'glorious purpose 
those materials which the prepossessions of the age compelled 
him to make use of.' 4 In Wordsworth's conception, too, 
Clio, the Muse of History, must 'vindicate the majesty 
of truth.' 5 

1 Excursion 6.1-12, 17-29. 

2 Advertisement to Lyrical Ballads, Prose Works 1.31. 

3 Preface to Lyrical Ballads, 1800, P. W., Oxford ed., p. 939. 

4 Essay Supplementary to the Preface, P. W., Oxford ed., p. 946. 

5 Plea: Hist. 8. 



16 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

If truth be essential to poetry, infinity and unity are the 
aspects of truth necessary to sublime poetry. 'The infinitude 
of truth ' is a recurrent phrase in the third essay on Epitaphs. 1 
In the letter to Pasley, 1811, Wordsworth urges 'indefinite 
progress ... in knowledge, in science, in civilization, in the 
increase of the numbers of the people, and in the augmentation 
of their virtue and happiness.' 2 And even more explicitly in 
his Description of the Scenery of the English Lakes, he asserts 
that 'sublimity will never be wanting where the sense of 
innumerable multitude is lost in and alternates with that of 
intense unity.' 3 

Poetry so conceived was in Wordsworth's opinion sublime 
poetry; and sublime poetry was religious poetry, as he re- 
minded Landor in 1824: 

'All religions owe their origin, or acceptation, to the wish 
of the human heart to supply in another state of existence 
the deficiencies of this, and to carry still nearer to perfection 
whatever we admire in our present condition; so that there 
must be many modes of expression, arising out of this coin- 
cidence, or rather identity of feeling, common to all my- 
thologies. . . . This leads to a remark in your last, "that you 
are disgusted with all books that treat of religion." I am 
afraid it is a bad sign in me that I have little relish for any 
other. Even in poetry it is the imaginative only, viz., that 
which is conversant with, or turns upon infinity, that power- 
fully affects me. Perhaps I ought to explain : I mean to say 
that, unless in those passages where things are lost in each 
other, and limits vanish, and aspirations are raised, I read 
with something too much like indifference. But- all great 
poets are in this view powerful religionists, and therefore 
among many literary pleasures lost, I have not yet to lament 
over that of verse as departed. ' 4 

1 Prose Works 2.176, 181. 

2 Prose Works 1.316. 

3 Prose Works 2.80; and cf. Henry Crabb Robinson, Diary, September 
10, 1816: 

' [Wordsworth] represented . . . much as, unknown to him, the German 
philosophers have done, that by the imagination the mere fact is exhibited 
as connected with that infinity without which there is no poetry.' 

4 Letters 2.214-5. 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 17 

'The grand store-houses of enthusiastic and meditative 
imagination ' were for Wordsworth ' the prophetic and lyrical 
parts of the Holy Scriptures/ the works of Milton and Spenser; l 
even the sublimer passages of Homer or ^schylus. 2 He 
agreed with Henry Alford, however, on 'the distinction be- 
tween religion "in poetry and versified religion.' Writing to 
the latter in 1840, he defined his position: 

' For my own part, I have been averse to frequent mention 
of the mysteries of Christian faith ; not from a want of a due 
sense of their momentous nature, but the contrary. I felt it 
far too deeply to venture on handling the subject as familiarly 
as many scruple not to do. . . . Besides general reasons for 
diffidence in treating subjects of Holy Writ, I have some es- 
pecial ones. I might err in points of faith, and I should not 
deem my mistakes less to be deprecated because they were 
expressed in metre. Even Milton, in my humble judgment, 
has erred, and grievously; and what poet could hope to atone 
for his apprehensions [? misapprehensions] in the way in which 
that mighty mind has done?' 3 

The Rev. R. P. Graves has left his memorandum of a talk 
wherein Wordsworth indicates 'the gradual steps by which 
[religion as an element in poetry] . . . must advance to 
a power comprehensive and universally admitted.' These 
steps, like the steps in Wordsworth's own career, are 'defined 
in their order by the constitution of the human mind; and 
[they] . . . must proceed with vastly more slowness in the 
case of the progress made by collective minds than ... in 
an individual soul.' 4 No clearer reason could be given for 
Wordsworth's renunciation of the great themes of Milton 
and of Dante. Not of man or 'one greater man' 5 was he to 
sing ; he dared not celebrate ' il Valor infinite ' 6 as did that 
brother who found himself in a forest 

1 Preface to the edition of 1815, P. W., Oxford ed., p. 957. 

2 Letters 2.250-1. 

3 Memoirs, ed. by Reed, 2.368-9. 

4 Memoirs, ed. by Reed, 2.370. 

5 Paradise Lost i.i, 4. 

8 Dante, Paradiso 33.81. 
3 



18 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

Nel mezzo del cammiri di nostra vita; 1 

instead he would write a memorial of the progress of religion 
as an element of poetry, a progress made by collective mind? 
and traceable in ecclesiastical polity and history, in liturgy 
and cathedrals. 

Therefore his spiritual and practical concern was unity, 
threatened alike by the anthropomorphism of pagan and 
idolatrous thought, 2 and by latitudinarianism, which 'will ever 
successfully lay claim to a divided worship.' 3 Political and 
ecclesiastical dissent were not only perilous for the statesman 
and priest, but perilous for the artist, to whom infinity and 
unity were both necessary if the work of art was to be sublime. 

V 

(a) 

The history and description of the structure of the Ecclesi- 
astical Sonnets are elsewhere given in detail. Here something 
must be said of its literary form in general. Wordsworth 
did not himself relate the series to any traditional group; and 
the reader is left to surmise the author's purpose. Of the 
classes of narrative enumerated in the Preface of 1815 the 
series must constitute either an epopoeia or a historic poem. 
On the other hand, the sonnet there is called an idyllium. 4 

An undated letter to Southey contains Wordsworth's best 
definition of the epic poem : 

'Epic poetry, of the highest class, requires in the first place 
an action eminently influential, an action with a grand or 
sublime train of consequences; it next requires the interven- 
tion and guidance of beings superior to man, what the critics, 
I believe, call machinery; and, lastly, I think with Dennis 
that no subject but a religious one can answer the demand of 
the soul in the highest class of this species of poetry.' b 

1 Dante, Inferno i.i. 

2 Preface to the edition of 1815, P. W., Oxford ed., p. 957. 

3 Postscript, 1835, P. W., Oxford ed., p. 965. 

4 P. W., Oxford ed., p. 954. 

5 Memoirs, ed. by Reed, 2.62. 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 19 

The first and third of these requirements are met by Words- 
worth's ecclesiastical series; and the second, too, if \ve inter- 
pret the 'intervention and guidance' of a Superior Being in 
the simplest and most exalted sense. 

^-^loreover, one may say of the series of Ecclesiastical Sonnets 
what Wordsworth said of Balbi's epitaph by Chiabrera: it is 
a perfect whole ; there is nothing arbitrary or mechanical ; it is 
an organized body, of -which the members are bound together 
by a common life, and are all justly proportioned. 1 Such 
perfection is not accidental. Throughout the decade previous 
to 1821 Wordsworth frequently described the ways and means 
of it, as for instance in the letter to Pasley: 

'A state ought to be governed, . . . the labors of the 
statesman ought to advance, upon calculations and from 
impulses similar to those which give motion to the hand of a 
great artist when he is preparing a picture, or of a mighty poet 
when he is determining the proportions and march of a poem ; 
much is to be done by rule ; the great outline is previously 
to be conceived in distinctness, but the consummation of the 
work must be trusted to resources that are not tangible, 
though known to exist.' 2 

And one may further say that the principles underlying the 
'proportions' and 'march' of Wordsworth's epic, its 'great 
outline,' have, as he remarked of the Constitution of England, 
'the character of preconceived ideas, archetypes of the pure 
intellect, while they are, in fact, the results of a humble- 
minded experience.' 3 

There were cogent artistic reasons for this not alone 
'October's workmanship to rival May'; 4 for from the outset 
of his career Wordsworth had put his faith in the 'best models 
of composition,' 5 including external nature. By exercise in 
analysis and translation and paraphrase he had sternly 

1 Prose Works 2.183. 

2 Prose Works 1.318. 

3 Memoirs, ed. by Reed, 2.259. 

4 Trosachs 1 1 . 

5 Advertisement to Lyrical Ballads, 1798, Prose Works 1.32. 



20 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

disciplined himself. In his own art and in the arts of painting 
and sculpture he was keenly aware of the cost of good work; 
and hence he could detect the spurious and the artificial, as 
with Macpherson's Ossian, or in the poetry of Scott. He 
could give reasons, too, for his judgments; his riper mind not 
only saw that an artist was deceived, but saw how he was 
deceived. 1 His ire at poems 'merely skin-deep as to thought 
and feeling, the juncture or suture of the composition not 
being a jot more cunning or more fitted for endurance than 
the first fastening together of fig-leaves in Paradise,' 2 and his 
enthusiasm over the exhibitions in the Jardin des Plantes 3 are 
symptoms of an increasing attention to organic form. 

Fortunately Wordsworth's taste was catholic: his models 
were the best from Greece, Rome, the Middle Ages, the 
Renaissance, the Elizabethan and Jacobean periods, and the 
Eighteenth Century. His rapture over the Elgin marbles, 4 
his frequent debate with Wrangham and Lonsdale and Landor 
on the minutiae of Latin phrases, his repeated study of the 
&neid, are evidence of his classical scholarship. Throughout 
his life he took a purely aesthetic delight in abbey and cathe- 
dral ; and the final passages of the Ecclesiastical Sonnets display 
no little of the reverence of Dante in the Paradiso. Dante's 
'fictions,' however, Wordsworth considered 'offensively gro- 
tesque and fantastic,' 5 and thus a superficial disparity pre- 
vented the English poet from that closer study of the Italian 
for which his temper and intelligence would seem to have 
fitted him. 

To the bold and lofty conceptions of Michelangelo, and 
to Leonardo's 'intense and laborious study of scientific and 
mathematical details,' 6 he rendered due homage; Chaucer's 

1 Reply to the Letter of Mathetes, Prose Works 1.102. 

2 Letters 2.80-1. 

3 Memoirs, ed. by Reed, 2.106. 

4 Letters 2.63; and cf . the Diary of Henry Crabb Robinson, November 
20, 1820. 

5 Letters 2.216. 

6 Cf. his translations of the sonnets of Michael Angelo, P. W., Oxford 
ed., pp. 256-7; cf. also Robinson's Diary 1.360. 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 21 

'lucid shafts of reason,' 1 and Shakespeare's judgment in the 
selection and ordering of his materials, 2 alike won his regard; 
he acknowledged Spenser's grasp of the ' highest moral truths' ; 3 
Milton and Walton had long been the intimate companions 
of his thought; with Burke and Cowper, unlike as they were, 
he had much in common. 

(b) 

But no mention of models of composition would be complete 
without reference to the sonneteers from whom Wordsworth 
learned how to shape the fourteen-line stanza which he adopted 
for his narrative poem. Never before to the same extent had 
sonnets been used to carry a theme which needed march as 
well as proportions. Cycles of sonnets there were; groups 
with their parts related in mood, in subject; groups cele- 
brating deeds which themselves formed a sequence; mild 
allegories of the rise and fall of passion or the growth and 
maturity and decay of life: but a well-articulated scheme of 
events originally conceived as organic parts of a whole had 
not before Wordsworth's experiment been attempted by an 
English poet in the sonnet-form. 4 

Blank verse or the Spenserian stanza would have been a 
dignified medium for an ecclesiastical poem. Wordsworth's 
reasons for disregarding them may be inferred from his letters 
to Southey, Lord Lonsdale, and Catherine Goodwin: he would 
avoid diffuseness, and he would make use of 'every possible 
help and attraction of sound.' 5 In his opinion Milton's 
sonnets had 'an energetic and varied flow of sound crowding 
into narrow room more of the combined effect of rhyme and 
blank verse than can be done by any other kind of verse.' 6 
Such, then, was to be the effect of the Ecclesiastical Sonnets. 

1 Eccl. Son. 2.31.13. 

2 Essay Supplementary to the Preface, P. W., Oxford ed., p. 947. 

3 Preface to the edition of 1815, P. W., Oxford ed., p. 957. 

4 Cf. chap. 4 of the Introduction in Dr. John S. Smart's recent edition 
of The Sonnets of Milton, 1921. 

6 Memoirs, ed. by Reed, 2.70. Cf. also ibid. 2.60, 62. 
6 Memoirs, ed. by Reed, 1.286, note. 



22 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

Hutchinson has gathered the memorable facts concerning 
Wordsworth and the sonnet into an Appendix to his edition 
(vol. i) of the Poems in Two Volumes. His remarks may here 
be supplemented by a short statement of the formal problem 
that Wordsworth faced in a series of 132 sonnets whereof the 
transitions must be distinct, but not abrupt. The sestet, 
obviously, is the crucial concern. 

Wordsworth was familiar with the sonnets of Michel- 
angelo, of Shakespeare, and of Milton. 1 He was familiar, 
too, with the technical habit of Petrarch, Tasso, Camoens, 
Dante, and the Elizabethans. Of later sonneteers, Donne, 
Russell, Sir Egerton Brydges, Miss Williams, the Coleridges, 
father and son, and Southey had been the objects of his 
incisive comment. The way was open, then, for him to make 
a judicial selection from a wide range of rhyme-schemes. 

He might use Shakespeare's 'heavy' 2 final couplet, the 
distichs of Petrarch and Dante, and the tercets of Michel- 
angelo, in a variety of forms to suit the movement of his 
narrative, or the extent and relationships of his thought. He 
was no doubt prepared for this free adaptation by his manage- 
ment of rhyme in The Whi 4 e Doe. At once strict and un- 
obtrusive, the harmony of this poem is its greatest formal 
beauty. 

Wisely enough, Wordsworth perceived the superiority of 
the sonnet over any stanza reminiscent of ballad or canzone. 
The sonnet is an artistic invention, and as such is the proper 
vehicle for ecclesiastical history. Originally a love poem, it 
would be fitted to carry a strain of sublimated love, patriotic 
or religious, as Milton had discovered, and as Wordsworth 
through Milton had rediscovered, for, by the latter, 'style of 
harmony ' 3 had been elevated from the serenade to the ' soul- 
animating' strain. 4 

1 Letters 1.173; Essay Supplementary, 1815, P. W., Oxford ed., p. 947. 

2 Memoirs, ed. by Reed, 2.258. 

3 Letters 2.180. 

4 Misc. Son. 2.1.14. 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 23 

In a letter to Dyce, Wordsworth sets forth his ideas about 
the construction of the individual sonnet : 

' It should seem that the sonnet, like every other legitimate 
composition, ought to have a beginning, a middle, and an 
end; in other words, to consist of three parts, like the three 
parts of a syllogism, if such an illustration may be used. But 
the frame of metre adopted by the Italians does not accord 
with this view; and, as adhered to by them, it seems to be, 
if not arbitrary, best fitted to a division of the sense into two 
parts, of eight and six lines each. Milton, however, has not 
submitted to this; in the better half of his sonnets the sense 
does not close with the rhyme at the eighth line, but overflows 
into the second portion of the metre. Now, it has struck me 
that this is not done merely to gratify the ear by variety and 
freedom of sound, but also to aid in giving that pervading sense 
of intense unity in wjiich the excellence of the sonnet has 
always seemed to me mainly to consist. Instead of looking 
at this composition as a piece of architecture, making a whole 
out of three parts, I have been much in the habit of preferring 
the image of an orbicular body a sphere, or a dewdrop. 
All this will appear to you a little fanciful; and I am well 
aware that a sonnet will often be found excellent, where the 
beginning, the middle, and the end are distinctly marked, 
and also where it is distinctly separated into two parts, to 
which, as I before observed, the strict Italian model, as they 
write it, is favorable.' l 

Valuable as was the conception of an orbicular body if 
Wordsworth were to use the sonnet as a stanza, it is fortunate 
that he did not relinquish the traits of divisibility. For both 
the march and proportions of his poem, the resultant medium 
was a happy one, rigorous and flexible alike. 

By way of summary, one may say that the Ecclesiastical 
Sonnets are related to models having dignity and beauty, and 
are loyally but not slavishly derived from them ; furthermore, 
they are wrought with conscious skill by a poet at once docile 
and self-assured. 

1 Memoirs, ed. by Reed, 2.281-2. Cf. also Smart, op. cit., pp. 14-38. 



24 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

VI 

His humility, his exalted aim, his theme, which was actual 
rather than fanciful, and his respect for the best traditions, 
made Wordsworth dependent upon his library. The ecclesi- 
astical series is a substantial poem; it is not merely a poem 
on a substantial theme, but a poem whose very substance is 
the substance of Bede, Drayton, Daniel, Fuller, Foxe, Walton, 
Camden, Stow, Herbert, Donne, Whitaker, Turner, Heylin, 
Burnet, Stillingfleet, Dyer, Milton, the Bible, and the English 
Liturgy. 

In selecting the best for his purpose, Wordsworth was 
unwilling to pervert or to blur what had been well done before 
him. And hence he transferred from his sources to his own 
work exact thoughts and exact images, and exact phrases as 
well. His versification of Bede is often more true to the 
original than is the English translation by A. M. Sellar. Such 
fidelity would do credit to the man of science; in the builder 
of a literary Church which will represent a real Church it is 
no less admirable. Wordsworth would give us Bede and 
Walton as in themselves they really are. Like Hooker, whose 
passion for truth he knew through Walton's Life, he had 
'searched many books and spent many thoughtful hours.' 1 
Like Milton, to whose History of Britain he was indebted for 
Ariegal and Elidure, he could appreciate the tireless investi- 
gation underlying all genuine literary work. 

The labor necessary for his substructure he did not avoid. 
Virgil had gone to ceremonial books of the priestly college, to 
Cato's Origines, to Varro's antiquarian treatises; perhaps to 
Annales and Fasti; to Naevius, Ennius, Homer and the 
Cyclic poems, the Greek tragedies, the Argonautica? In the 
same spirit Wordsworth opened the liturgy, Stillingfleet's 
Origines, Davies' antiquarian treatises, Stow's Chronicle, and 
the works of Camden and Foxe, of Drayton, and of Bede 
and Milton. 

1 Walton, The Lives of Donne, Wotton, Hooker, Herbert, and Sanderson, 
2 vols., Boston, 1832, 2.78. 

2 Sellar, Virgil, p. 310. 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 25 

It is impossible in every case to tell how conscious or how 
recent was Wordsworth's debt, for his memory always served 
him well. Bede and Turner were directly consulted; and it 
is probable that the histories of Fuller and Daniel lay close to 
his hand. From the old books that did not come amiss 1 when 
he was preparing an album for Lady Mary Lowther in 1819, 
he doubtless refreshed his knowledge of passages chosen, as 
Harper says,. 'for solidity, elevation, and sincerity.' 2 That 
other books, old or new, had been recently acquired we learn 
from two letters to Henry Crabb Robinson, who seems to 
have mediated between Wordsworth and 'the bookseller near 
Charing Cross.' These books, which had not arrived by Jan- 
uary 23, 1821, were in Wordsworth's possession on March 13. 3 

The poet was badly misled by his authority only in one 
instance, when he followed Foxe's erroneous account of the 
humiliation of Barbarossa by Alexander III. On the other 
hand, his favorable estimate of Laud has been corroborated 
by later historical study, 4 and was pronounced, as he told 
Miss Fenwick, long before the Oxford Tract Movement. 

Throughout the Ecclesiastical Sonnets the temper of Walton 
rules; Fuller's condensed power has been helpful to Words- 
worth in the management of vast topics like the Crusades 
and the wars of York and Lancaster; Daniel's style, lucid 
and unadorned, reappears to advantage in sestets which must 
be precise or final. Dyer's sensibility and Burnet's vivacity, 
Whitaker's zeal for c rcumstantial detail, all seem to live 
again in the sonnets they have helped to make. 

Nor did Wordsworth lack skill to supplement or balance 
one source with another, or to discard what was specious or 
bigoted in his authorities. Save in dealing with the Norman 
Conquest, he treats people and events with sympathy and 
judgment; More and Cranmer, Milton and Laud, all receive 
unbiased praise, while Sacheverell and the dissenters are 

1 Undated letter to Wrangham, Letters 2.128. 

2 William Wordsworth 2.310. 

3 Letters 2.141, 143. 

4 Gardiner, The Great Civil War, 1889, 2.50-1. 



26 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

impartially rebuked. Of monasticism and reform alike the 
poet is a generous interpreter. 

His tolerance was recognized by the eminent Roman Catho- 
lic writer Montalembert ; l and the spirit of pure faith and 
humility which lay beneath his tolerance recommended him 
to Ken elm Henry Digby, a young English writer whose zeal 
had carried him farther into ritual and ecclesiastical tradition 
than Wordsworth was willing to go. Digby not infrequently 
quoted Wordsworth in the Mores Catholici; 2 and between the 
two there later arose the friendliness of authors having a 
similar enthusiasm. 3 

Wordsworth's omissions are noteworthy. Csedmon, who 
sang out of his heart, is passed by for Bede the translator. 
William, Lanfranc, and Anselm are not mentioned; but 
Richard, the Norman become Englishman, and Henry V, 
point the folly of conquest. The civil wars of England are 
lightly touched on ; enmity of class against class, sect against 
sect, plays no important part in the Ecclesiastical Sonnets; 
.great men are not pitted against great men rather does a 
succession of great men illustrate the epic march of an im- 
personal struggle. In this way Wordsworth avoids a 
dramatic violence that would distort his medium, while 
retaining the vigor of good narrative. And he overcomes the 
temptation to crowd his action with persons and events. 
Many well-known characters are masked or lightly sketched. 
Aidan, Theodore, Hadrian, Wilfrid, Bernard, Thomas Brad- 
wardine, Wolsey, Henry VIII, can be descried in passages 
where no names are mentioned. 

As a scholar Wordsworth was astute: he found the main 
sources, and he did not lose his sense of proportion. Other 
poets of his time had been great readers and eager for research, 
Coleridge and Scott, for instance. Neither has so successfully 
reconciled his scholarship with his poetry; neither has been 

1 Monks of the West, 1861, Introduction, 1.96, note. 

2 London, 1844, 1.1.7, 17; 1-545; 1.8.87. 

3 Letters 2.441; cf. also an article in the A thenaum 3579.714, May 30, 
1896. 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 27 

so modest a student, for when Wordsworth wrote to Wrangham 
in 1819 that his reading powers 'were never very great' 1 he 
did not at all imply that they had been unwisely or vainly 
exercised. He well knew the 'good elder writers,' 2 and to 
Allsop in 1821 he seemed 'almost as good a reader as Cole- 
ridge,' 3 and even more authoritative. 

Nor was Wordsworth exclusive in his enthusiasms. What 
he studied and found good he related to what he had studied 
and found good. The pure faith of Walton and the 
celestial secrets of Milton were for him as admirable in 
Jacobean and Caroline times as the piety of Bede and the 
imagination of Gregory in the early Middle Ages. Alfred and 
Elizabeth he found comparable; Saxon monks and eminent 
reformers, of one lineage. The unity of his poem is in large 
part due to his unwillingness to exalt one period over another. 

With scholars a pioneer, therefore; as an artist re-estab- 
lished in his art by study of the works of poets and cathedral 
builders; as a historian animated by the spirit of Bede and 
Alfred; as a poet linked with Virgil, with Dante, with Milton, 
and with Spenser by the nature of his theme, Wordsworth 
wrote the Ecclesiastical Sonnets. 

DATE OF COMPOSITION 

Wordsworth left France early in November, 1820; he then 
spent a fortnight in London, and another at the Lodge, 
Trinity College, Cambridge. 4 If one of the sonnets on King's 
College Chapel was written at Cambridge, as seems possible, 5 
and if MS. F (p. 107) is to be accepted as evidence, Eccl. Son. 
3.44 was the first of the series to be composed. Wordsworth 
wrote to Crabb Robmson in March, 1821: 

1 Letters 2.125. 

2 Letters 1.468-9. 

3 Knight, The Life of William Wordsworth, 1889, 3.52. 

4 P. W., Oxford ed., p. xxix. 

5 Cf. Knight, Life of William Wordsivorth, 3.53, 54; and Hutchinson, P. 
W., Oxford ed., p. 451. 



28 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

' I should like to send you a sonnet composed at Cambridge, 
but it is reserved for cogent reasons to be imparted in 
due time.' l 

It is 3.44 that best satisfies this reference; 3.43 is dependent 
rather upon its printed source in Dyer than upon visual 
impression. 

From Cambridge Wordsworth went on to Coleorton Hall, 
where one of the group 3.39, 3.40, 3.41 or perhaps the whole 
group was conceived, as the Advertisement relates (p. 117). 
Judging by its presence in MS. F (p. 108), 3.41 would be the 
earliest of these. 

On Dec. 24, 1820, Wordsworth was at home in Rydal. He 
sent to Sir George Beaumont on Jan. 6, 1821, an account of 
Millom Church, where Myers was buried. Of the return- 
journey he wrote: 

'My road brought me suddenly and unexpectedly upon 
that ancient monument called by the country people "Long 
Meg and her Daughters." Everybody has heard of it, and 
so had I from very early childhood, but had never seen it 
before. Next to Stonehenge, it is beyond dispute the most 
noble relic of the kind that this or probably any other country 
contains.' 2 

Since Long Meg is included in MS. F (pp. 104-5), where it is 
closely related to Ecd. Son. 1.2, 1.5, and to the group headed 
by 3-35, it may be assumed that those parts of Wordsworth's 
design are later than Jan. 6, 1821. 

By March 27, 1821, the series was well under way. Doro- 
thy wrote to Mrs. Clarkson: 

'William is at present composing a series of sonnets on a 
subject which I am sure you would never divine, the Church 
of England but you will perceive that, in the hands of a 
poet, it is one that will furnish ample store of poetic materials. 
In some of the sonnets he has, I think, been most successful.' 3 

1 Letters 2.146. 

2 Letters 2.138-9. 

3 Letters 2.147. 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 29 

And in May to the same correspondent she sent word : 
'My brother is still hard at work with his sonnets.' 1 

By Nov. 24, 1821, however, the sonnets were 'at rest,' as 
Dorothy wrote to Crabb Robinson. 2 Wordsworth had begun 
work upon the Memorials of a Tour on the Continent, 1820. 

The exact date of the sonnets added in 1827 remains un- 
known. Except for 3.12 (pp. 44, 200), they may have been 
among those 'very good' ones which Dorothy says were 
written shortly before Dec. 18, i826. 3 The sonnet published 
in 1832 is by Knight referred to Dec. 7, 1827 (p. 30) ; but the 
three sonnets published in 1835 remain undated, unless we as- 
sume 2.4 to be based on St. Bees, written during or after the 
tour of 1833 (p. 47). To Moxon, who was preparing the edi- 
tion of 1836-7, Wordsworth wrote (1836) that 'the ecclesiastical 
sonnet, beginning "Coldly we spake. The Saxons over- 
powered,'" was 'new.' 4 

With the exception of EccL Son. 2.1, 2.2, 2.9, and 2.10, the 
additions of 1842 and 1845 are elsewhere (pp. 30-3, 50-3, 
54-7) discussed in reference to MSS. and the history of the 
text. Knight says of Eccl. Son. 2.9, and 2.10, however: 

'In a letter to Professor Henry Reed, Philadelphia, Sep- 
tember 4, 1842, Wordsworth writes: "To the second part of 
the series (the Ecclesiastical Sonnets} I have also added two, 
in order to do more justice to the Papal Church for the services 
which she did actually render to Christianity and humanity 
in the Middle Ages.'" 5 

Dowden repeats Knight's note (omitting the words 'and 
humanity' and the parenthesis). He also applies it to Eccl. 
Son. 2.9 and 2.10. Smith and Hutchinson likewise assert 
that 2.9 and 2.10 were composed in 1842. But no evidence 

1 Letters 2.150. 

2 Letters 2.160. 

3 Letters 2.299. 
< Letters 3.120. 

6 P. W., Edinburgh ed., 7.41; Eversley ed., 7.42. 



30 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

is given by Knight or Dowden or Smith or Hutchinson that 
these two rather than 2.1 and 2.2 are the sonnets to which 
Wordsworth refers. Indeed, the words of the letter, 'did 
actually render,' point to 2.2 and 2.9 as more explicitly doing 
'justice to the Papal Church.' Editors have not yet hazarded 
a date of composition for 2.1 and 2.2; but have, without 
adequate evidence, believed their conclusion on 2.9 and 2.10 
to be final. 

MANUSCRIPTS 
i. ENUMERATION 

A. MS. of Eccl. Son. 2.2 in Wordsworth's own handwriting. 

Quoted by Knight (P. W., Eversley ed., 1896, 7.37). 

B. MS. of Eccl. Son. 3.21, dated December 7, 1827, sent by 

Wordsworth to Coleorton Hall. Also MS. of Eccl. Son. 
3.25. Both quoted by Knight (P. W., Eversley ed., 
7.90-1, 93). 

C. Variant readings for Eccl. Son. 2.1, 2.10, 3.12, 3.19, 3.26, 

3- 2 9 3-3 2 > given among the MS. additions to Lord 
Coleridge's copy of the 1836-7 edition of Wordsworth's 
Poetical Works. Quoted by Knight (P. W., Eversley 
ed., 7-35-6, 43, 83, 89, 94, 96, 98). 

D. MS. of Eccl. Son. 3.13, 3.14, 3.15, sent with a letter from 

Wordsworth to Henry Reed, March I, 1842. The 
present editor has consulted the original in the collection 
of Mrs. St. John. 

E. MS. of Eccl. Son. 3.16, 3.26, 3.27, 3.29, 3.30, 3.28, 3,31, 

and, in part, 3.32 and 3.19, sent with a letter from 
Wordsworth to Henry Reed, March 27, 1843. The 
present editor has consulted the original in the col- 
lection of Mrs. St. John. 

F. MS. of Eccl. Son. in part (with certain Miscellaneous 

Sonnets, certain sonnets from Memorials of a Tour on 
the Continent, 1820, and one of the Itinerary Sonnets, 
1833). This MS. is in the collection of Mrs. St. John. 
It has been consulted by the present editor, who 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 31 

believes it to be a copy by Mrs. Wordsworth of an early 
draft of Eccl. Son. In this edition it is printed, and 
evidence is given for its authenticity. 

2. DESCRIPTION AND DISCUSSION 
A, B, C 

Knight is the authority for the readings of A, B, and C 
(P. W., Eversley ed., 7.37, 90-1, 93, 35-6, 43, 83, 89, 94, 96, 
98; i.xlvi, xlvii). 

D 

With a letter of March I, 1842, Wordsworth sent to Henry 
Reed a copy of Eccl. Son. 3.13, 3.14, and 3.15. The original 
letter in Mrs. St. John's collection is as follows: 

'I have sent you three sonnets upon certain Aspects of 
Christianity in America, having as you will see a reference to 
the subject upon which you wished me to write. I wish they 
had been more worthy of the subject; I hope, however, you 
will not disapprove of the connection, which I have thought 
myself warranted in tracing, between the Puritan fugitives 
and Episcopacy.' 

The three sonnets accompanying the letter are written upon 
a double sheet. Wordsworth's signature is affixed to each 
sonnet, the sonnet itself being in another hand. The sheet is 
undated, and, except for minor differences in punctuation and 
the use of capital letters, contains no new readings. The 
second of the three sonnets has the title Return to the Church 
in England. 

E 

With a letter of March 27, 1843, Wordsworth sent to Henry 
Reed a copy of Eccl. Son. 3.16, 3.26, 3.27, 3.29, 3.30, 3.28, 
3.31, and, in part, 3.32 and 3.19. The original letter, in Mrs. 
St. John's collection, contains the following statement: 

'I send you according to your wish, the additions to the 
Ecclesiastical Sonnets.' 



32 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

Reed's reply, written April 27, 1843, is also quoted from 
the original: 

'Your letter of the 2yth of March reached me some days 
ago. . . . Let me most cordially thank you for the precious 
enclosures in your letter. The Church sonnets have an es- 
pecial interest inasmuch as they give a completeness to the 
Ecclesiastical series which was very greatly to be desired. 
There now seems to be nothing wanting in fulfilment of the 
design of this imaginative commentary (if that be not too 
prosaic a title) upon the history and services of the Church.' 

The MS. which accompanies these letters of March and 
April in the Wordsworth-Reed correspondence was pointed 
out to the present editor by Mrs. St. John in 1919. It bears 
no date, but it is creased into folds exactly corresponding to 
the cover of the letter it is supposed to accompany, and satisfies 
the references to such a document made by both Reed and 
Wordsworth. Moreover, the cover itself, which is stamped 
'Ambleside Mr. 30, 1843,' 'Ambleside Ap 2, 1843,' and 
'Returned for postage,' has the following note written on one 
flap of it: 

1 1 will be much obliged if you will have the enclosed sonnets 
copied and sent to Bp. Doane, who has not given me his 
address. W. W.' 

The document is a double sheet written on all four pages. 
The sonnets included are * Bishops and Priests,' The Marriage 
Ceremony, Thanksgiving after Childbirth, The Commination 
Service, Forms of Prayer at Sea, Visitation of the Sick, and 
Funeral Service. Then follow alterations of Rural Ceremony 
and of The Liturgy. 

Clearly, E is the important evidence for the date of Eccl. 
Son. 3.16, 3.29, and 3.30, respectively ' Bishops and Priests,' The 
Commination Service, and Forms of Prayer at Sea. These 
must have been composed before March 27, 1843. That they 
were composed after September 4, 1842, is indicated by the 
fact that Wordsworth did not mention them in their necessary 



/^ **~^ **** 




Facsimile of a page of the letter from Wordsworth to 

Henry Reed, September 4, 1842. 

In the collection of Mrs. St. John. 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 33 

connection when on that date he wrote to Henry Reed as 
follows : 

'A few days ago after a very long interval I returned to 
poetical composition; and my first employment was to write 
a couple of sonnets recommended by you to take place in the 
Ecclesiastical series. They are upon the Marriage Ceremony, 
and the Funeral Service. I have also, at the same time, 
added two others, one upon Visiting the Sick, and the other 
upon The Thanksgiving of Women after Childbirth, both 
subjects taken from the services of our Liturgy.' 

This letter, a page of which is here reproduced in facsimile 
from the original in Mrs. St. John's collection, is final evidence 
also of the date of Eccl. Son. 3.26, 3.27, 3.28, and 3.31 
respectively, The Marriage Ceremony, Thanksgiving after Child- 
birth, Visitation of the Sick, and Funeral Service. They were 
composed 'a few days' before September 4, I842. 1 

F 

By far the most helpful of these six MSS. of the Ecclesiastical 
Sonnets, although we are at some pains to establish its authen- 
ticity and value, is a paper-covered note-book which came to 
Mrs. St. John from the sale of the library of the Reverend 
W. L. Nichols. 

Mrs. St. John has written the following data on the cover 
of the note-book: 

1 Earliest draft of Ecclesiastical Sonnets. From Rev. W. L. 
Nichols' sale (1890)-! 893 sale (autumn) of Woodlands, 
Bridgewater, who wrote The Quantocks and their Associations, 
read in Bath, 1871, published 1891. W. L. Nichols' library 
was rich in MS. of W. W.'s poems in early MS. especially. 
See The Athenceum, Sept. 6, 1890. J. D. Campbell. F. 95.' 

The MS. is undated. There are 57 pages of it, including 
the title-page, on one side of which is written ECCLESIAS- 
TICAL SONNETS, and on the other a table of contents. 
Beginning with the third, the pages are numbered, 1-55, and 

1 For a discussion of this point see my article in Notes and Queries 
for April 3, 1920. 

4 



34 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

both sides of the sheet are inscribed. At the bottom of page 
i are the words 'In Miss Wordsworth's hand writing'; of 
page 5, 'Partly in [here it is impossible to tell whether the 
word is 'Mrs.' or 'Mr.'] Wordsworth's hand writing'; of 
page 6, 'In ['Mrs.' or 'Mr.'] Wordsworth's hand writing'; 
at the side of page 12, 'In ['Mrs.' or 'Mr.'] Wordsworth ['s] 
hand writing'; at the bottom of page 54, 'In ['Mrs.' or 'Mr.'] 
Wordsworth['s] hand writing.' 

There are in the note-book versions of 33 of the Ecclesiastical 
Sonnets, versions of 6 sonnets now belonging to other series, 
and several fragments. Although the sonnets do not without 
exception follow the order in which they were published, 
they have a general continuity of their own. It is, however, 
worthy of remark that, barring three irrelevant errors, at the 
head of each sonnet stands the Roman numeral proper to it 
in the editions of 1845 and following. 

After careful study I conclude that the handwriting of F is 
the same throughout title, table of contents, headings, sonnets, 
and footnotes. The numbering, the references to the scribes, 
and the title, Ecclesiastical Sonnets instead of Ecclesiastical 
Sketches, indicate that the MS. cannot be the earliest draft of 
the series, but must rather be, if authentic, a late copy of 
such a draft. 

Since there seems to be no external evidence for its authen- 
ticity other than its presence in the libraries of Mrs. St. John 
and the Reverend W. L. Nichols, the admissibility of MS. F 
mainly rests on internal evidence. And if internal evidence 
establishes the right of MS. F to represent a draft of the 
Ecclesiastical Sonnets earlier than 1822, it is well to ascertain 
the identity of the scribe, in order that the good faith and 
accuracy of the copy may be attested. 

The contents of the note-book are in this edition care- 
fully printed. Irregular punctuation and misspellings have 
been retained. Penciled data occur here and there in the 
note-book. They have been disregarded in the printing and 
in the discussion. 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 35 

Internal Evidence for the Authenticity of MS. F 

The authenticity and priority of MS. F rest upon the proof 
of the following assumptions: 

(1) The MS. contains material not used in the text of 1822, 
but adjacent in the sources to the material that is used in the 
text of 1822. 

(2) The MS. is in form nearer to the original conception of 
the holy river than is the text of 1822. 

(3) The scope of the series in the MS. accords as nearly 
with Wordsworth's original intention as does that in the text 
of 1822, but the MS. is less complete than the text. 

(4) From the MS. are absent all the sonnets based on one 
of Wordsworth's most important sources. 

(5) The relation of sonnet to sonnet in the MS. is such that 
it must antedate the separate publication of Mem. Tour Cont. 
1820 and Eccl. Sketches. 

(6) Where two or more versions of a sonnet are given, or 
where changes are made in the text of a sonnet, the improve- 
ment is in most cases undeniable; and it is the corrected 
version that has in most cases prevailed. 



The MS. contains material not used in the text of 1822, 
but adjacent in the sources to the material that is used in the 
text of 1822. 

First, in the MS. sonnet on the Crusades (1.34, pp. 99. 
101), where lines 9-10 read: 

As a sharp pike set on a buckler's boss 

Makes an efficient portion of the mighty shield. 

The figure of the pike in the buckler's boss is used by Fuller 
in the Holy War (p. 14) in the same paragraph with the 
material of Eccl. Son. 1.34.1-8 (See Notes, p. 242). This 
figure is not retained in the text of 1822. 

Secondly, in one of the MS. sonnets on the Waldenses (2.14, 
p. 100), where line 8 reads: 

Cerberian mouths pursued with hideous bark. 
The figure is much nearer to that of Fuller (Holy War, p. 150), 



36 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

'This ignivomous cur (sire of the litter of mendicant friars 
called Dominicanes) did bark at and deeply bite the poor 
Albigenses, ' than is the reading of 1822, 'Fell Obloquy.' For 
the passage from Fuller, on which Eccl. Son. 2.14.8 is based, 
see Notes, p. 256. 

Thirdly, in another MS. version of the sonnet on the Wal- 
denses (2.14, p. 100), where the sestet is derived from Fuller's 
Holy War (pp. 141-2). In 1822 the sestet was transferred to 
the Notes of that edition. For the passages from Fuller on 
which depend both earlier and final versions of Eccl. Son. 
2.14.9-14, see Notes, p. 256. 

Fourthly, in the MS. sonnet on Scene in Venice (1.38, p. 93), 
which bears the heading 'A scene about the same period in 
the church of St. Mark, Venice.' This detail of St. Mark, 
prominent in Foxe's Acts and Monuments 1.185 (See Notes, 
p. 245), is not retained in the text of 1822. 

Such proof is final for the sonnets concerned, and indicative 
for the note-book as a whole. 

(2) 

The MS. is in form nearer to the original conception of the 
holy river than is the text of 1822. 

First, there are included as an integral part of the series 
versions of four sonnets illustrating events by means of the 
phenomena of river and sky: Mem. Tour Cont. 1820 13 (two 
versions); Eccl. Son. 3.12 (not published with this series until 
1827; in 1822 appearing as one of the Mem. Tour Cont. 1820) ; 
Mem. Tour Cont. 1820 34 (three versions) ; and Misc. Son. 2.9 
(pp. 83, 102, 90, 90, 91, 96, 94). 

Secondly, two references in the MS. to rivers have been 
discarded in the text of 1822: in 1.2 or 1.5 (p. 82). 

(3) 

The scope of the series accords as nearly with Wordsworth's 
original intention as does that of the text of 1822; but the 
MS. is less complete than the text. 

Wordsworth said in the Advertisement to the edition of 
1822: 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 37 

'During the month of December, 1820, I accompanied a 
much-loved and honoured Friend in a walk through different 
parts of his estate, with a view to fix upon the site of a new 
Church which he intended to erect. . . . Not long afterwards, 
some of the Sonnets which will be found towards the close of 
this series were produced as a private memorial of that morn- 
ing's occupation.' 

Two such sonnets are in MS. F: Misc. Son. 3.7, Eccl. Son. 
3.41 ; and Eccl. Son. 3.44, unless it had been written at Cam- 
bridge. However, Eccl. Son. 3.39 and 3.40 are not included 
in MS. F. 

Wordsworth continued in the Advertisement: 

'The Catholic Question, which was agitated in Parliament 
about that time, kept my thoughts in the same course; and 
it struck me that certain points in the Ecclesiastical History 
of our Country might advantageously be presented to view 
in verse.' 

These certain points in MS. F are the archiepiscopal influence 
on Henry V, the troubles of Charles I, the insult to the bones 
of Wyclif, eminent reformers, the abuses suffered by Henry 
II and John, the interdict in the reign of John, the humiliation 
of Frederick Barbarossa, the danger from Charles II, the 
exiles during the Marian persecution, the character of William 
of Nassau, the Crusades, the Gunpowder Plot, the persecution 
of the Waldenses, Elizabeth, Cranmer, and the mutability of 
outward forms. 

Here it may be well to quote a passage from the Preface of 
Christopher Wordsworth's Ecclesiastical Biography, 1810. He 
is discussing his scheme and its limitations (i.xi-xii) : 

' Besides those obvious ones of restricting the history to that 
of our own country, and to the lives of our fellow countrymen, 
there appeared to me many reasons 1 why the work should 
begin with the preparations towards a Reformation by the 
labors of Wickliffe and his followers, and not a few why it 
might well stop at the Revolution. Within those limits^are 
comprehended, if we except the first establishment of Christi- 



38 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

anity amongst us, the rise, progress, and issue of the principal 
agitations and revolutions of the public mind of this country 
in regard to matters of Religion: namely, the Reformation 
from Popery, and the glories and horrors attending that hard- 
fought struggle; the subsequent exorbitances and outrages of 
the Anti-popish spirit, as exemplified by the Puritans; the 
victory of that spirit, in ill-suited alliance with the principles 
of civil liberty, over loyalty and the Established Church, in 
the times of Charles the First; the wretched systems and 
practices of the Sectaries, during the Commonwealth, and the 
contests for establishment between the Presbyterians and 
Independents at the same period; the hasty return of the 
nation, weary and sick of the long reign of confusion, to the 
ancient constitution of things, at the Restoration; the opera- 
tion of those confusions, and of the ill-disciplined triumph of 
the adverse party upon the state of morals and religion, during 
the early part of the reign of the second Charles ; the endeavors 
of Charles and his brother to restore Popery, and introduce 
despotism ; the noble exertions of the clergy of the Church of 
England, at that interval, in behalf of natural and revealed 
Religion, and Protestantism, and civil liberty; the Revolution 
of 1688, together with the ascertainment of the distinct nature 
and rights of an established Church, and a religious toleration; 
and the principles of the Non-jurors.' 

In their final ordering the Ecclesiastical Sonnets exceed the 
scheme of Christopher Wordsworth in five notable particulars. 
They include: 

a. An extensive group relating to 'the first establishment 
of Christianity' in Britain, based mainly on Turner and Bede. 

b. Sonnets on the growth of the papal power. 

c. The Aspects of Christianity in America, added many years 
later at the suggestion of Henry Reed and Bishop Doane. 

d. A group on the liturgy. . 

e. An extensive group on the mutability of external forms 
and on ecclesiastical architecture. 

All of these elements except c. are to some degree present in 
MS. F, but b. and e. are most important, as is to be expected 
from Wordsworth's Advertisement; a. would be an exten- 
sion desirable for the better understanding of b. Never- 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 39 

theless, for the scope of the narrative proper in MS. F, William 
Wordsworth follows Christopher Wordsworth. If we except 
Diocletian, the assumed 'earliest draft' begins 'with the 
preparations towards a Reformation by the labors of Wickliffe' 
and stops at 'the Revolution of 1688.' 

This vital connection of MS. F with Christopher Words- 
worth's design and with Wordsworth's own intention consti- 
tutes one of the strongest arguments for its authenticity. 

(4) 

From the MS. are absent all the sonnets based on one of 
Wordsworth's most important sources, viz., The History of the 
Anglo-Saxons, by Sharon Turner. 

Furthermore, Bede, whose Ecclesiastical History Wordsworth 
used very freely in Part I, is represented in MS. F only by the 
sestet on the martyrdom of Alban ; the Wordsworthian account 
of the famous speech, 'Man's life,' etc. (Eccl. Son. 1.16) is 
taken from Fuller, not from Bede. 

Finally, none of the sonnets indispensably based on the 
histories of Burnet appear in MS. F. 

Therefore it is more than probable that so definite a cleavage 
as to sources indicates priority for the MS. version. 

(5) 

The relation of sonnet to sonnet in MS. F is such that this 
must antedate the separate publication of Mem. Tour Cont. 
1820 and Eccl. Sketches. 

In MS. F the connection is logical between Eccl. Son. 1.6 
(Diocletian) and Mem. Tour Cont. 1820 13: compare 'malice,' 
and 'fear'; ' lightning,' and 'whirlwind of anger'; 'unavailing 
shield,' and 'rocky fortress'; 'threats could shake,' and 
'threatening to destroy'; 'flowery platform,' and 'flowers 
beside the torrent growing. ' So Eccl. Son. 3.12 (' Down a swift 
Stream') and Mem. Tour Cont. 1820 34: compare 'calm leisure,' 
and 'shallows' (first version). Again, Eccl. Son. 1.38 (Papal 
Abuses') and Mem. Tour Cont. 1820 34: compare ' sky's fantastic 



40 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

element,' and 'mimics of fancy' (second version). Again, 
Ecd. Son. 3.18 (Pastoral Character) and its intended contrast 
EccL Son. 1.39 (Scene in Venice), a contrast illustrated by 
Misc. Son. 2.9. Again, EccL Son. 1.4 (Druidical Excom.) and 
Poems of 1833 43: compare 'cumbrous load,' and 'sisterhood 
forlorn.' Finally, EccL Son. 3.35 (Old Abbeys) and Poems of 
i833 43 : compare 'pride deserving chastisement severe,' and 
'the inviolable god that tames the proud,' and notice the 
connection of both with EccL Son. 1.4. 

Therefore it is doubtful that when these ronnets were 
written Wordsworth had yet arranged the Mem. Tour Cont. 
1820. 

(6) 

Where two or more versions of a sonnet are given, or where 
changes are made in the text of a sonnet, the improvement is 
in most cases undeniable; and it is the corrected version that 
has in most cases survived. Refer to the corrections in the 
following sonnets of MS. F: i.i, 1.2, 1.16, 2.17, 3.18, 2.37, 
3.19, 2.38, 3.34 on pp. 81, 81-2, 84, 88, 93, 95, 98, 103, 108. 
Notice also that the following sonnets of MS. F are different 
from any printed version: 1.5, 2.15, 1.34, 2.36, 1.4, 3.35 on 
pp. 82, 85, 99, 102, 105, 106. 

Such evidence, it seems to me, proves these six assumptions 
in regard to MS. F: that it bears an authentic relation to 
Wordsworth's sources, his design, and hi? purposes; and that 
it is early in regard to his use of sources, his ordering of his 
material, and his artistic revision. 

Therefore, as far as internal evidence may be considered 
valid, MS. F is admitted as an authentic representation of 
the sonnets included in it. One could not, however, safely 
assert that a sonnet wanting in MS. F was not of early com- 
position, or did not belong to the series as first conceived. 

The Scribe of MS. F 

*Next, it is well to ascertain the identity of the scribe, in order 
that the good faith and accuracy of the copy may be attested. 







&u. 









Facsimile of Mary Wordsworth's script, July 18, 1842. 
In the collection of Mrs. St. John. 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 41 

The available evidence points to Mary Wordsworth, a 
facsimile of whose handwriting on July 1 8, 1842, is here re- 
produced. Although she formed her letters very much in the 
manner of the poet, her script of the later period is more fluent 
and steady than his. This appears from a comparison of the 
two documents (facing pp. 32 and 40) to which Reed referred 
on November 14, 1842 (MS.): 

'Since last I wrote to you, I have had the gratification of 
receiving your two letters (of July and a few days ago that 
of Sept. 4). From the last being in your own handwriting I 
was glad to infer that the inflammation of your eyes mentioned 
in the former letter had passed away, and that you are in the 
enjoyment ot your usual excellent health.' 

After careful study of these letters and other documentary 
evidence, I conclude that Mary Wordsworth is the scribe of 
MS. F. 

Importance of MS. F 

MS. F is important for the following reasons: 

First, it contains a fund of information for the student of 
Wordsworth's art. If use of sources be the subject of investi- 
gation, the three versions of Waldenses in the MS. are valuable 
data. If the refining of phrase and the excision of useless 
material be studied, the lessons taught on every page of the 
MS. are no less helpful. 

Secondly, it contains some 35 unpublished lines of Words- 
worth's composition. 

Thirdly, when compared with the final version of the 
Ecclesiastical Sonnets, MS. F permits a study of the develop- 
ment of structure, and hence justifies an estimate of Words- 
worth's power to build. The formal beauty of the series is 
not an accident; it is an achievement the stages of which 
one may now follow in detail. 

Fourthly, MS. F indicates more clearly, because more 
fundamentally, than does the final version, that Wordsworth's 
main purpose was to warn against bigotry, rage, and pride, 



42 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

and against 'the pomps and vanities of earth.' Tolerance, 
humility, pure faith, constitute the ideal of MS. F no less 
than of the Ecclesiastical Sonnets. 

Fifthly, MS. F, almost entirely lacking in reference to the 
Church of the Middle Ages, is the strongest evidence for one 
of Wordsworth's greatest imaginative feats. Not until after 
the first draft of his Church history was accomplished did he 
see that its scope demanded the sympathetic and scholarly 
study of a period hitherto known to him chiefly through its 
ecclesiastical monuments. Taking his cue possibly from 
Dyer's History of Cambridge 1.135, !55 with its references to 
Sharon Turner's History of the Anglo-Saxons, he procured the 
work of Turner, the best English book of its sort in existence 
at the time. With it and with Bede's Ecclesiastical History, 
the main original source, he proceeded to so careful a delinea- 
tion of his subject that the result of his effort, Part I of the 
Ecclesiastical Sonnets, is unique in English literature as a 
poetical account of the establishment and growth of Christi- 
anity in England. 

EDITIONS 1822-1857 
i. ENUMERATION 

a. Ecclesiastical Sketches by William Wordsworth. London: 

Printed for Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown, 
Paternoster- Row. 1822. Printed by A. and R. Spottis- 
woode, New-Street-Square. 

b. Eccl. Son. 2.43 and 3.12 are printed in the volume: Me- 

morials of a Tour on the Continent, 1820. By William 
Wordsworth. London: Printed for Longman, Hurst, 
Reese, Orme, and Brown, Paternoster- Row. 1822. 

c. [In volume 3 of] The Poetical Works of William Wordsworth. 

In Five Volumes. London : Printed for Longman, Reese, 
Orme, Brown, and Green, Paternoster- Row. 1827. 

d. [In volume 3 of] The Poetical Works of William Wordsworth. 

A New Edition. In Four Volumes. London : Printed for 
Longman, Reese, Orme, Brown, Green, and Longman, 
Paternoster- Row. 1832. 




Facsimile of MS. F, p. 51. 

In the collection of Mrs. St. John. 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 43 

e. Ecd. Son. 2.4, 2.12, and 2.13 are printed in the volume: 
Yarrow Revisited, And Other Poems. By William Words- 
worth. London: Printed for Longman, Reese, Orme, 
Brown, Green,* & Longman, Paternoster- Row; and Ed- 
ward Moxon, Dover Street. 1835. 

/. [In volume 4 of] The Poetical Works of William Wordsworth. 
A New Edition. In Six Volumes. London: Edward 
Moxon, Dover Street. [1837.] 

g. [In the volume entitled] The Sonnets of William Words- 
worth. Collected in One Volume, with A Few Additional 
Ones, now First Published. London: Edward Moxon, 
Dover Street. [1838.] 

h. 'The stereotyped edition of the poems in six volumes, 
published in 1836-7, was re-issued, with a revised and 
slightly altered text, in 1840, and this edition of 1840 
again was also reprinted in 1841, 1842, 1843 . . . ' (P. 
W., Oxford ed., p. xxxii.) 

[In volume 4 of] The Poetical Works of William Words- 
worth. A New Edition. In Six Volumes. London: 
Edward Moxon, Dover Street. [1840.] [1841.] [1843.] 

i. Eccl. Son. 3.13, 3.14, and 3.15 are printed in the volume: 
Poems, Chiefly of Early and Late Years; Including The 
Borderers, a Tragedy. By William Wordsworth. Lon- 
don: Edward Moxon, Dover Street. [1842.] 

j. [In the volume entitled] The Poems of William Wordsworth, 
D.C.L.; Poet Laureate, etc., etc. A New Edition. Lon- 
don: Edward Moxon, Dover Street. [1845.] 

k. [In volume 4 of] The Poetical Works of William Wordsworth, 
D.C.L., Poet Laureate, etc. In 'Seven Volumes. A New 
and Revised Edition. London. Edward Moxon, Dover 
Street. [1*846.] 

/. [In volume 4 of] The Poetical Works of William Wordsworth, 
D.C.L., Poet Laureate, etc., etc. In Six Volumes. A 
New Edition. London: Edward Moxon, Dover Street. 
[1850.] 

m. 'In 1857 a six-volume edition of the poems appeared, in 



44 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

which the notes dictated in 1843 by the poet to Miss 
Fen wick were first published, being prefixed to the indi- 
vidual pieces to which they severally refer.' (P. W., 
Oxford ed., p. xxxii.) % 

2. HISTORY OF THE TEXT 

I 
a, b 

In 1822 Wordsworth published under the title Ecclesiastical 
Sketches 102 sonnets, disposed in three parts, of 38, 36, and 
28 sonnets respectively. He published during the same year 
the Memorials of a Tour on the Continent, 1820. Moreover, 
The Jungfrau and the Fall of the Rhine near Schaffhausen 
appeared in both series, in the latter with the following note: 
'This sonnet belongs to another publication, but frdm its 
fitness for this place is inserted here also.' 



From the Memorials of a Tour on the Continent, 1820, Words- 
worth in 1827 transferred the Author's Voyage down the Rhine 
(Thirty Years Ago} to the Ecclesiastical Sketches as 'Down a 
swift Stream, thus far, a bold design,' now 3.12. It was 
thoroughly revised and helped to fill what Henry Reed four- 
teen years later called 'almost a vacant niche' after the 
Obligations of Civil to Religious Liberty (MS. of a letter to 
Wordsworth, April 28, 1841). 

Obviously 3.12 was introduced for its value in the figure of 
the 'holy river.' But 10 other sonnets were added to the 
edition of 1827, where the plot would best support a renewed 
caution against the perils of idolatry, cruelty, and fanati- 
cism (2.30, 2.33, 2.34, 3.7, 3.11, 3.36: respectively, The 
Point at Issue, Revival of Popery, Latimer and Ridley, Perse- 
cution of the Scottish Covenanters, Sacheverel, Emigrant French 
Clergy)', or where the liturgical theme might be expanded 
with a possible gain in dignity and repose (3.20, 3.23, 3.24, 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 45 

3.25: respectively, Baptism, Confirmation, Confirmation Con- 
tinued, Sacrament). 

A comparison of these with other poems first published in 
1827 shows that the poet's access of zeal for spiritual freedom 
was shaped into a clear definition of the means whereby he 
thought it was to be secured : Faith and Grace. Latimer and 
Ridley were coupled in the ' might of Faith ' ; ' Faith preserved 
her ancient purity' in Alpine vales when 'the majesty of 
England interposed'; English shores gave to the 'Faith' of 
the emigrant French clergy 'a fearless resting-place.' And, 
above all, the wise contend for 'Faith' in the Point at Issue, 
surely one of the most characteristic of all Wordsworth's 
sonnets, even when considered apart from its place as the 
keystone of the structure of the Ecclesiastical Sonnets. ' Grace 
descendeth from above' at baptism, and the 'Fountain of 
Grace' is lauded and magnified before the sacrament. 1 

George Herbert's The Temple: The Church Porch must have 
been in Wordsworth's mind at this time. From it (stanza i) 
he adapted the motto prefixed to the series in 1 827.2 To 
Herbert, as to Walton, Wordsworth returned with a deepening 
sense of kinship. Meekness, piety, and exalted purpose were 
already to be found in the Ecclesiastical Sketches of 1822; 
faith and grace were emphasized in the additions of 1827. 

And the details of this first revision are so many specific 
indications that Wordsworth had been at work in a spirit of 
stern economy: 'glad step' (i.i.i) became 'faithful pace'; 
'wild Companion' (1.1.3) became 'spirit ruled by his'; 'the 
glorious City' (1.13.4) became 'the immortal City'; 'Sweet 

1 Cf. Misc. Son. 2.5, 2.37, 3.44; and the poem prefatory to P. W., 
If thou indeed. 

2 A verse may find him, who a Sermon flies, 
And turn delight into a Sacrifice. 
Herbert. 

A verse may catch a wandering Soul, that flies 
Profounder Tracts, and by a blest surprise 
Convert delight into a Sacrifice. 

Wordsworth. 



46 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

Hallelujahs' (1.13.14) became 'Glad Hallelujahs'; 'prurient 
speculations' (2.37.9) became 'speculative notions'; and, 
perhaps most clearly indicative of all, 'polity and discipline ' 
(2.40.10) became 'doctrine and communion.' The. diction 
was remodeled to please the sensitive ear; phrases carefully 
involved were no less carefully turned into their substantive 
elements, with resulting fluency and power; the first two lines 
of 3.32 were revised to accord with the new members of the 
liturgical group; and, finally, the order of the sonnets near 
the beginning of Part 3 stood as follows: Latitudinarianism, 
Clerical Integrity, Persecution of the Scottish Covenanters, Ac- 
quittal of the Bishops, William the Third, Obligations of Civil to 
Religious Liberty, 'Down a swift Stream,' Walton's Book of 
Lives, Sacheverel, Places of Worship. 

In the arrangement of 1827 the three parts contained 38, 
39, 36 sonnets respectively. 

Notable, too, is the position of Ecclesiastical Sketches in the 
collection. Although later to be shifted, the series was first 
included among the substantial poems: the Memorials of the 
tours of 1803,' 1814, and 1820, the Poems on the Naming of 
Places, Inscriptions, and the series of National Independence 
and Liberty. 

d 

Five years later, in 1832, Wordsworth transferred the series 
into the company of The White Doe of Rylstone and the Poems 
of Sentiment and Reflection. The project of increasing the 
liturgical group, which, as the variant readings show, long 
continued a moot point with him, gained in favor. The one 
sonnet added this year was Sponsors, now 3.21. But he 
maintained a well-nigh perfect numerical balance, part to 
part: 38, 39, 37. His preference for ideas over images and 
his use of expressions which more and more transcend each 
other would lead him in 1845 to an abstract vocabulary and a 
neutral style; as yet, though simple and formal, his lines were 
vigorous: 'Melts into silent shades the Youth' (2.33.1) became 
'The saintly Youth has ceased to rule.' We find the search 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 47 

for the distinct word unabated: 'peace and equity' (1.24.7) 
became 'justice and peace.' Wordsworth had long been ex- 
pounding the cost of peace, and the distinction between 
equity and justice; here the point was well taken. Indeed, 
the propriety of the changes in the text so far is easy to see. 
Almost without exception they make for a better under- 
standing of the poet's aim, and, thanks to the soundness of 
his original conception and to his spacious design, have not 
impaired the one or encumbered the other. 



The volume Yarrow Revisited appeared in 1835 with this 
note (p. 281): 'The three following Sonnets are an intended 
addition to the Ecclesiastical Sketches, the first to stand second ; 
and the two that succeed, seventh and eighth, in the second 
part of the series. See the author's Poems. They are placed 
here as having some connection with the foregoing poem/ 
The three sonnets, now 2.4, 2.12, and 2.13, were 'Deplorable 
his lot who tills the ground,' The Vaudois, and 'Praised be the 
Rivers, from their mountain springs'; and the foregoing 
poem was Stanzas Suggested in a Steamboat off St. Bees' Heads, 
on the Coast of Cumberland. Lines 136-44 of the latter are 
in substance the same as Eccl. Son. 2.4. But the sonnet has 
by far a stricter economy and a closer application than the 
nine lines from which, for this very reason, I judge that it was 
remodeled. 

If the derivation be from stanzas to sonnet, to the remnants 
of mediaeval culture which Wordsworth saw on his tour of 
1833 may be given partial credit for his subsequent desire to 
build up the beginning of Part 2 into a juster estimate of 
mediaeval institutions, as institutions; their history and 
persons and circumstances he had fully set forth in 1822. Is 
it not akin to the temper of previous changes of the text, this 
desire to perpetuate the institution and the idea rather than 
accidents of the former and perversions of the latter? 



48 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

But now once more the local Heart revives, 
The inextinguishable Spirit strives. 1 

The remaining two sonnets of this triad were not so im- 
portant in themselves; but the three together formed an 
epitome of the series, the plea for wise organization contrasted 
with the summons to spiritual integrity, both crowned by a 
natural image which made the whole vivid. In conception 
Vaudois must be much earlier than 1835, for its source is 
partly Fuller's Holy War (p. 140), a paragraph where the 
phrases of Waldenses (1822) are closely imbedded with it. 
Possibly Wordsworth remodeled an incomplete and discarded 
draft of Waldenses to compensate for the new emphasis on 
monasticism (cf. MS. F, p. 100). 'Praised be the Rivers' 
supplied a needed tributary for the 'holy river.' Its contents 
are little more than can be found in Poems Dedicated to National 
Independence and Liberty 1.12, 1.16, and 2.10, with perhaps a 
reference to the Venetian breach with Rome during the 
ambassadorship of Henry Wotton. 2 



Wordsworth wrote to Moxon of the edition of 1836-7: 

'The value of this edition as hereafter will be universally 
admitted lies in the pains which have been taken in the 
revisal of so many of the old poems, in the remodeling and 
often rewriting of whole paragraphs, which you know has 
cost me great labor, and I do not repent of it. In the poems 
lately written I have had comparatively little trouble.' 3 

With the addition of 'Coldly we spake,' 1.32, and the three 
sonnets of 1835, Ecclesiastical Sketches now made their appear- 
ance as Ecclesiastical Sonnets. The division into three parts 
of 39, 42, and 37 sonnets respectively was still a proportionate 
one, and the textual changes, while not so much of a kind, 

1 St. Bees 149-50. 

2 Walton, Lives 1.148. 

3 Letters 3.120. 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 49 

give no hint that the poet would endanger the unity of the 
series, or that he failed to preserve a sane estimate of each 
individual sonnet. 

He capitalized fewer nouns in this edition, and revised words 
which were obsolescent or over-precise: 'Frame (1.20.1) be- 
came 'Body'; 'nicer heed 1 (2.3.2) became 'stricter heed 1 ; 
'dreadless' (3.36.14) became 'fearless.' He consistently aban- 
doned the use of noun as adjective: 'forest arches cool' 
(1.22.7) became 'sylvan arches cool'; 'enthusiast powers' 
(1.35.13) became 'Enthusiasts'; 'Convent Gate' (2.22.7) be- 
came 'Convent's gate'; 'phantom lakes' (2.27.13) became 
'spectral lakes.' He took from certain phrases their partisan 
fervor; and hence some passages had the curious effect of 
under-statement. The thorough ' remodeling ' given to parts of 
1.16, 1.27, 2.8, 2.13, resulted in the sacrifice of a few specious 
and rhetorical passages, but his intensity of a decade ago was 
lacking. And on the whole the changes were cautious rather 
than economical. 

g 

Except for 2.14, the few textual changes of this series in 
the volume of 1838 were slight, and seem generally to have 
been disregarded during the preparation of later editions. 

Wordsworth wrote to Reed July 5, 1844: 

'What you advise in respect to a separate publication of 
my Church poetry, I have often turned in my own mind ; but 
I have really done so little in that way, compared with the 
magnitude of the subject, that I have not courage to venture 
on such a publication. Besides, it would not, I fear, pay its 
expenses. The Sonnets were so published upon the recom- 
mendation of a deceased nephew of mine, one of the first 
scholars of Europe, and as good as he was learned.' l 

It is owing to John, son of Christopher Wordsworth, then, 
that The Sonnets of William Wordsworth collected in one volume 
appeared in 1838 with the following Advertisement: 

1 Memoirs 2.415-6. 
5 



50 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

'Some of my friends having expressed a wish to see all the 
sonnets that are scattered through several volumes of my 
Poems brought under the eye at once; this is done in the 
present publication, with a hope that a collection made to 
please a few may not be unacceptable to many others. Twelve 
new ones are added which were composed while the sheets 
were going through the press. 

My admiration of some of the sonnets of Milton first 
tempted me to write in that form. The fact is not mentioned 
from a notion that it will be deemed of any importance by 
the reader, but merely as a public acknowledgment of one of 
the innumerable obligations which, as a poet and a man, I am 
under to our great fellow-countryman.' 

So many of Wordsworth's books were introductions, mis- 
cellanies, or fragments, or, like the Lyrical Ballads and The 
White Doe of Rylstone, were the outgrowth of some one period, 
that the volume of 1838 has a unique interest. The poems 
in it are of one kind, they are of a kind in which Wordsworth 
excelled, and they are representative of half a lifetime. With 
this in mind, and some regard for the opinion of 'one of the 
first scholars of Europe,' we may well note the arrangement 
of the volume: Miscellaneous Sonnets, Political Sonnets, 
Itinerary Sonnets, The River Duddon, and Ecclesiastical Sonnets. 
The Ecclesiastical Sonnets were placed at the apex of a series. 

II 



The name of Henry Reed serves as a preface to the next 
chapter in the history of the text. Without him this series 
might have rested at the summit of the body of Wordsworth's 
sonnets, the purity of its outline undisturbed, its purpose 
still single. 

Reed was courtly almost fulsome in address, as we come 
to know him through his letters. Yet he was strong and very 
fine; it is easy to see how firmly and completely he fitted into 
the thoughts and moods of Wordsworth's old age. He failed 
to realize, however, that the Ecclesiastical Sonnets constituted 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 51 

a narrative poem written on the history of the English Church. 
His zeal to expand its frail connection with the religious life 
of America and its exposition of the liturgy does credit to him 
as a churchman; nor was it unsound if we approve his plan 
of strengthening the spiritual bonds between England and 
America; still it smacked a little of cult, and led to a tam- 
pering with Wordsworth's greatest structure. He wrote to 
Wordsworth : 

'There is a subject which from time to time has occurred 
to my mind and which I have felt a strong desire to introduce 
to your consideration, though restrained, let me assure you, 
by no little diffidence about it. ... Without further preface, 
and more than you perhaps will think the subject calls for, 
let me say that it is the suggestion of an historical occasion 
closely connected with your Ecclesiastical Sonnets and one 
which I hope may strike you, when it is presented to your 
reflections, as worthy a place in the series the consecration 
of the American Bishops, and the consequent transmission of 
the spiritual functions of the Church in England to the 
daughter Church on this Western Continent. It has often 
struck me that there was something of a moral sublimity in 
the event, considering the precise period when it took place 
in 1787, so soon after all the animosity of the revolution 
which separated the colonies from Great Britain, and yet so 
admirable a spirit prevailing on both sides, with the ecclesi- 
astical power that was giving and that which was receiving. 
One of the candidates for consecration (Bp. W.) had been 
chaplain to the revolutionary Congress, but nothing could be 
truer, better reconciled with his sound American policy, than 
his deep and reverential affection for old England. He kept 
it alive to the end of a life of nearly 90 years. Pray, my dear 
sir, have the goodness to give this subject ... a place in 
your thoughts* and pardon the liberty I have taken in pre- 
senting it to you. The ecclesiastical sympathy of the countries 
is an excellent peace maker and peace keeper and I am sure 
no one would be more ready than you to contribute to the 
feeling. I did not well know in what way to put you in 
possession of the circumstances attending the consecration of 
the American Bishops. I hardly thought it worth while to 
send you a copy of the Biography of Bishop White, but in its 
stead have sent a reviewal I wrote of it a year or two since. 



52 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

which notices some of the incidents. I have sent it to my 
correspondent in London.' l 

Wordsworth entertained the plan kindly, and, as appears 
from Reed's second letter, sent word that 'Bishop Doane had 
chanced to make the same suggestion.' 2 Moreover, Reed was 
not content to let the matter rest. He urged his project in 
even greater detail : 

'Surely no measure in the history of the Church in England 
has been calculated to spread her principles over a larger 
section of Christendom. The Church in this country has 
gone on in perfect harmony with our popular systems of 
government, and will I believe prove one of the indirect means 
of checking any tendency of these systems to irregularity, for 
it came along with a spirit of discipline. Besides every day 
is showing the sympathy it creates between the two nations, 
when in the lower region of more worldly concerns, diplomacy, 
and commerce, and money, there may be, most unhappily, 
arising frequent occasions of dissatisfaction and estrangement. 
These are some of the reasons why I am so anxious for you 
not to dismiss the subject from your thoughts. In most 
perfect sincerity I assure you that fourteen lines upon it from 
your pen may exert an influence more wide and lasting than 
you can well realize or than I can calculate. If there is one 
thing more gratifying than another to every one to whom 
your poetry is dear, it is to observe the constant indications 
of its influence upon minds of highly reflective power, and also 
on those of different constitution.' 3 

The sonnets arrived in due time. Reed acknowledged his 
high 'gratification' and expressed Mrs. Reed's thanks 'for the 
felicitous manner in which you have introduced the name and 
character of her revered grandfather, Bishop White. The 
manner in which you have connected the Puritans with the 
subject was indeed unexpected, but I have nothing in my 
churchmanship to prevent a cordial sympathy with the tribute 
you have paid to them.' 4 

1 MS. letter of April 28, 1841. 

2 MS. letter of November 29, 1841. 

3 MS. letter of November 29, 1841. 

4 MS. letter of March 30, 1842. 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 53 

The three sonnets composing this group, Aspects of Christi- 
anity in America, 3.13, 3.14, and 3.15, were first published in 
the volume of 1842, Poems, Chiefly of Early and Late Years. 

h 

Meanwhile the stereotyped edition of 1836-7 had been 
slightly revised, and was reissued in 1840; from the plates of 
1840 reprints were made in 1841, 1842, and 1843. The 
Ecclesiastical Sonnets are scarcely concerned in this remodeling. 

j 

The one- volume edition of 1845, however, has three im- 
portant structural changes: 

(1) The expansion of the apology for the mediaeval Church 
at the beginning of Part 2. 

(2) The rearrangement of the order at the beginning of 
Part 3, with the insertion of Aspects of Christianity in America. 

(3) The disproportionate increase in the group of sonnets 
on services of the liturgy. 

In all, 14 sonnets were added: 4 to Part 2, and loto Part 3. 
The final proportion, part to part, stood 39, 46, 47. 

(i) 

Of these changes, the expansion of the group at the beginning 
of Part 2 seems the most defensible. First, because the plot 
was strongest in Part 2, and could there most safely be relaxed. 
Secondly, the transition from Part I to Part 2 had previously 
been abrupt, and needed the help of a comprehensive survey 
such as 2.1 and 2.2 were now able to give. Thirdly, the change 
was in the interest of poise: toleration was emphasized in the 
theme, and a heightening by contrast gained for the treat- 
ment of the theme. 

Wordsworth's letter to Reed, September 4, 1842, has been 
discussed. Two sonnets were added to Part 2 'in order to do 
more justice to the Papal Church for the services which she 



54 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

did actually render to Christianity and humanity in the 
middle ages.' 1 Here, then, is one fruition of the 'unextin- 
guishable Spirit ' of St. Bees. Reason for believing that these 
two sonnets were 2.2 and 2.9 has been given (pp. 29-30); if 
that evidence be valid, the other two, 2.1 and 2.10, whose 
non-existence on September 4, 1842, was implied, must have 
been conceived later. They are more general than 2.2 and 
2.9, and they contain a figure applicable to the series as a whole. 

(2) 

In Part 3 Walton's Book of Lives was restored to its place 
after Latitudinarianism, Sacheverel was placed before 'Down a 
swift Stream' an improvement, since the latter seemed a 
natural cadence for the history of the English Church, and 
what now became its final line, ' How widely spread the inter- 
ests of our theme,' led on to a quieter strain of Part 3. At 
this point, then, Wordsworth inserted the three sonnets on 
Aspects of Christianity in America. It cannot be denied that 
the juncture was deftly made, nor that the subject had been 
handled far more ably than Reed could foresee or fully appre- 
ciate. For, considerations * of structure aside, Wordsworth's 
experience in tolerant and judicious appraisal of ecclesiastical 
events rightly prompted him, if he would be just to the 
religious history of America, to retail the Pilgrim adventure 
before he celebrated the episcopal return. 

In a letter of April 28, 1842, Reed made an acknowledgment 
of Wordsworth's greater wisdom: 

'Let me here return to some subjects I could only allude to 
in a very hurried postscript to my last. And foremost of 
these a more deliberately expressed thankfulness is due for 
the sonnets on the Church in America. They indeed far 
transcend the simple suggestion I had ventured to make. I 
scarcely deemed myself justified in proposing more than the 
introduction into the Ecclesiastical Series of the transmission 
of Episcopacy to America as an event in the history of the 
Church in England ; and therefore, so far as I allowed myself 

1 See the facsimile facing p. 32. 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 55 

to anticipate your mode of treating the subject I thought it 
not improbable that your imagination would incorporate the 
theme suggested into the series of poems by presenting the 
scene in Lambeth palace the consecration of the American 
Bishops, so soon after the revolutionary war in the graphic 
and meditative form in which in many of the sonnets you 
have there recorded events in British Church history. But, 
finely as I can conceive the story might have been told by 
you taking this view of it, assuredly the subject has a grander 
scope by the connection you give to it with the Pilgrim settlers. 
I cannot help saying to you, what I could certainly say more 
unreservedly were I commenting on these poems to any one 
else, that I have been much impressed with the display of 
imagination, in one of its important modes of action, in the 
unity that is given in these poems to the events (running 
through more than a century and a half) from the migration 
of the Puritans to the Western world, down to the return of 
the American divines seeking consecration from the Church 
of England. The train of reflection, impressive to any re- 
flecting reader, is apposite especially to my countrymen, too 
many of whom have been apt to trust to systems of worship 
neither raised nor limited save by self will.' 

Could the memorials of this 'train of reflection,' however, 
have remained a group apart, would their service not have 
been as valuable? And would not the unity of the series have 
been better preserved? Even so, granted that the structure 
could support the added burden, was the consecration of 
American bishops at Lambeth not too recent an event to take 
its place with propriety in a narrative whose success depended 
largely on a perspective of years? This last question may 
also be asked of Emigrant French Clergy, although here as 
with 'Coldly we spake,' it is the animus of Wordsworth 
against France which has unfortunately outweighed discretion. 

(3) 

Reed, who had wished to make of the Ecclesiastical Sonnets 
an instrument for the spread of Episcopacy in America, was 
still not content with the series. On April 28, 1842, after a 
few words of gratification at his share in suggesting the 
previous addition, he wrote to Wordsworth: 



56 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

' I trust you will not think your kindness in this matter is 
made a pretext for me to abuse it, if I suffered myself to be 
tempted to make another suggestion respecting the Ecclesi- 
astical Sonnets, the completeness of which, considering the 
sacred association of the whole series, is especially to be 
desired. This consideration will, I hope, weigh with you as 
some excuse for my venturing to inquire whether among the 
sonnets in the latter part of the series on the rites and cere- 
monies of the Church Baptism, Catechizing, and those (very 
favorite ones) on Confirmation, there should not be introduced 
two more, on the solemnization of Matrimony, and the other 
on the Burial Service. Are not these (the former in its 
introductory address and the latter throughout) among the 
most excellent of the liturgical ceremonies, and do they not 
more perhaps than any other appeal to that common human- 
heartedness, which is the very element in which your poetry 
moves and has its being? That inimitable burial service 
at once so mournful and so consolatory and so often solem- 
nized to us all as to seem the paramount occasional service of 
the Church. I am confident that your imagination could not 
fail to touch both with tenderness and wisdom the feelings 
which either are or ought to be associated with that rite. 
I well remember the impression made on me by two lines in 
one of your other poems, merely alluding however in a different 
connection and for a different purpose to one of the incidents 
of the burial service the lines in the stanzas On the Power 
of Sound, 

The little sprinkling of cold earth [that fell] 
Echoed from the coffin lid. 

For not a little while the lines fairly haunted me. But I am 
dwelling too long much too long on this subject, and probably 
you had some good reason for the omission, in which case all 
this is impertinence.' 

Any exhaustive 'appeal to common human-heartedness' 
would in 1822 have been apt to arouse Wordsworth's sus- 
picions, for Eccl. Son. 1.8, 1.23, 1.26, 2.3, 2.5, 2.20, 2.36, 2.37, 
were so many attempts either to transcend common human- 
heartedness or to define its perils. The warning in 1.20 should 
not have been forgotten: 'The way is smooth for Power that 
travels with the human heart. ... Ye holy Men, so earnest 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 57 

in your care, of your own mighty instruments beware ! ' More 
probably Wordsworth's own increasing faith in social rather 
than individual channels of religious feeling inclined him to 
this further versification ' of offices dispensing heavenly grace ' 
(2.6.14). 

Suffice it to say that 7 sonnets based on the liturgy were 
composed (see pp. 31-3), and in 1845 inserted as 3.16, 3.26, 
3.27, 3.28, 3.29, 3.30, and 3.31 ; respectively: ' Bishops and 
Priests,' The Marriage Ceremony, Thanksgiving after Child- 
birth, Visitation of the Sick, The Commination Service, Forms 
of Prayer at Sea, and Funeral Service. The beginning of 3.32 
was altered to accord with the sonnets which preceded it; 
3.25.9, to accord with the sonnets which followed. 

By 1845 the text had been slightly altered from the reading 
of the stereotyped edition of 1837 ; the changes follow the trend 
of Wordsworth's thought: 'memorial Sacrament' (3.25.3) be- 
came 'mysterious Sacrament.' The substitution of 'Furl we 
the sails, and pass with tardy oars, ' for ' Nor can Imagination 
quit the shores' (2.8.1), was a decided gain, and could be 
urged as proof that Wordsworth still wrote for the ear and 
eye. In its movement, it is one of the best lines in the series. 

Among the minor improvements are these : ' At length come 
those Waldensian bands' (2.14.6) became 'Then followed the 
Waldensian bands'; 'Blest be the Church' (3.20.1) became 
'Dear be the Church'; 'sadness that' (3.2.2) became 'sadness 
which.' 

The last three lines of Elizabeth (2.38.12-14) were entirely 
changed. The 'glorious light' has yielded to a 'foul con- 
straint,' presumably Elizabeth's intolerant treatment of Mary 
Stuart. This is quite in keeping with Wordsworth's judg- 
ment of events at every turn. His consistency appeared also 
in his reluctance to write 'Church reformed' for 'new-born 
Church' (2.40.4); he felt that 'if taken in its literal sense, as 
a transformation, it is very objectionable.' 1 He yielded the 
point, however, to readers who were dissatisfied with the line 
as it stood. 

1 Memoirs 2.115. 



58 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

k, I, m 

In the reprint of 1846, taken from the stereotypes of 1836-7 
revised to date, the notation of Parts 2 and 3 was slightly 
disturbed by the intrusion of the sonnets added to the series 
in 1842 and 1845. This formal difficulty was remedied in the 
edition of 1850. But the change of 'his' to 'its' (1.1.2) in the 
edition of 1850 cannot go undebated. The repetition of 'his' 
in two successive lines has, it is true, been avoided, but the use 
of both masculine and neuter pronouns with the image of Dud- 
don confuses the idea; so much so that Mr. Carter for the 
edition of 1857 restored the reading of 1822-1845. 

Ill 

When the variant readings are thus studied in their relation 
one to the other, and when the sequence of changes in the 
text and about the text becomes clear, the way is open for a 
few valuable deductions. 

First. Wordsworth was above all the apostle of tolerance 
and moderation. 

Secondly. Religion to him was a communal responsibility. 
Institutions were therefore its proper channels. 

Thirdly. Polity and discipline, or to use the word under 
which he included both doctrine, must be supplemented by 
communion. 

Fourthly. Although spiritual integrity should not be sacri- 
ficed, any appeal to sensibility was properly subordinate to 
logical truth and structural beauty. 

Fifthly. A poem which celebrated the ideal beauty of 
religion, as it could be traced in the history of an institution, 
might well rest its artistic success upon the fine proportion of 
its design, and upon the simplicity, even the severity, of 
its workmanship. 




Interior of King's College Chapel, Cambridge. 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 59 



INSIDE OF KING'S COLLEGE CHAPEL, CAMBRIDGE 

Tax not the royal Saint with vain expense, 

With ill-matched aims the Architect who planned 

Albeit labouring for a scanty band 

Of white-robed Scholars only this immense 

And glorious Work of fine intelligence ! 

Give all thou canst ; high Heaven rejects the lore 

Of nicely-calculated less or more; 

So deemed the man who fashioned for the sense 

These lofty pillars, spread that branching roof 

Self -poised, and scooped into ten thousand cells, 

Where light and shade repose, where music dwells 

Lingering and wandering on as loth to die; 

Like thoughts whose very sweetness yieldeth proof 

That they were born for immortality. 



60 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 



STRUCTURE 

ANALYSIS OF NARRATIVE AND STRUCTURE 

Part I From the Introduction of Christianity into Britain to 
the Consummation of the Papal Dominion. 

a Britain before Augustine: 

Celtic Britain (1-5) ; Roman Britain (6-9) ; Britons 
vs. Saxons (10-12). 

b From Augustine to Alfred : 

Introduction of Christianity (13-17); establish- 
ment of Christianity by good works (18-20), 
contemplation (21-23), enterprise (24-26). 

c From Alfred to the consummation of the papal 

dominion : 

Perils at home from Dane and monk (27-30), and 
Norman (31-32) ; perils abroad from infidel (33-35) 
and pope (36-39). 
Part 2 To the Close of the Troubles in the Reign of Charles I. 

a Apology: 

Charity for the Roman see (i 2) ; the services of 
the monastic orders (3-5); religion and chivalry 
(6-8); progress and decline (9-10). 

b Attempted reform ; separation from Rome : 

Rebirth of the true Church because of the preser- 
vation of the pure faith (11-14) an d the spread of 
sanctified doctrine (15-17); abuses of (18-21) and 
regrets for (22-25) monasticism and Roman Catho- 
licism; the reformers warned (26-28) and exhorted 
(29-32). 

c Unity or schism: 

Peril from Marian idolatry and tyranny (3335), 
and from Protestant intolerance and schism (36- 
38); faction (39-42) and civil war (43-46). 
Part 3 From the Restoration to the Present Times. 

a Preservation of the true Church : 

Paternal and patriotic love (1-2); Circean revels 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 61 

or celestial light (3-5) ; tyranny or conscience (6- 
8) ; casual law and fierce extremes, or ancient virtue 
and the golden mean (9-12) ; concord and charity 
moving in circles with the return of the American 
divines to Lambeth (13-15). 
b Ecclesiastical ceremony: 

Solemn offices (16-18); the liturgy (19-31); re- 
grets (32-33). 
c Ecclesiastical architecture: 

Types of the spiritual Church in truth and charity 
(34-37); in humble altar and low pile (38-41); 
in cathedral and college chapel (42-45) ; the eternal 
city (46-47). 

NUMBER of SONNETS l 
In 1822 In 1827 In 1832 In 1835 In 1837 In 1842 In 1845 In 1850 

IE 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 

ib 14 14 14 14 14 14 14 14 

1C 12 12 12 12 13 13 13 13 





38 


38 


38 


38 


39 


39 


39 


39 


2a 


5 


5 


5 


[6] 


6 


6 


IO 


IO 


2b 


19 


20 


20 


[22] 


22 


22 


22 


22 


2C 


12 


J 4 


T 4 




14 


14 


H 


J 4 



36 


39 


39 


[42] 


42 


42 


4 6 


46 


3a 9 
3b 6 
3c 13 


12 
IO 
14 


12 
II 
H 


12 
II 


12 
II 
14 


ii 


15 

18 
H 


15 

18 

H 


28 


36 


37 


37 


37 


[40] 


47 


47 


Total 102 


II 3 


114 


[117] 


118 


[121] 


132 


132 



An analysis of the Ecclesiastical Sonnets shows that the 
division of the series as a whole, and of each main part of the 
series, is tripartite, and that the middle group of each main 
part includes the greatest number of sonnets. Hence we 
might expect that Part 2 of the series would also be the domi- 
nant part; but this is not so after 1842. On the other hand, 

1 In the volumes of 1835 and 1842 only the additions to the series were 
published. The totals which were thereby changed are bracketed. 



62 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

before 1845 the middle group of Part 3 was not the domi- 
nant group. 

The series diminishes from part to part in 1822; but be- 
ginning with 1827 there is a gain in central emphasis for the 
series and for the parts. If a slight overdevelopment of 
Part 3 be disregarded, the final scheme is symmetrical as 
well as tripartite. Parts I and 2 have kept their proportions 
throughout. 

Wordsworth first thought of his narrative as a holy river. 
He was then in a quandary over the less fluent aspects of his 
theme, the apologies for instance, and the liturgical and 
architectural groups. Although image and symbol might with 
fair success cover the disparity, his scheme was not fully 
unified until 1827, when he added 'Down a swift Stream' 
(3.12) and The Point at Issue (2.30). The result, while 
reminiscent of Dante, who faced the same problem, is far from 
Dantesque. Had Wordsworth, instead of tracing his holy 
river to an eternal city, foreordained one as part of the other 
in the manner of Ezekiel and St. John as well as of Dante, 
his union of the temporal and eternal might have been more 
complete. And his attempt to combine visio and epic into an 
apocalypse of fact might better have stood the architectural 
test if his experience with liturgies and cathedrals had been 
as long as it was appreciative. 

He has, however, undeniably made himself a part of the 
tradition of Ezekiel, Revelation, and the Divina Commedia. 
His design and his imagery are both fluent and architectonic. 

The living Waters, less and less by guilt 
Stained and polluted, brighten as they roll, 
Till they have reached the eternal City built 
For the perfected Spirits of the just. 1 

i . NARRATIVE 

Further study of the analysis given above brings forth the 
following observations or inferences in regard to the narrative: 
1 Eccl. Son. 3.47.11-14. 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 63 

First. The action concerns the survival of the pure Church ; 
the points at issue are faith, freedom, and unity. 

Secondly. The pure Church is subject to three perils: 
infidelity, tyranny, and schism. And hence there is a triple 
theme. 

Thirdly. The action is simple, double, triple in sequence. 
The pure Church struggles with the infidel or pagan idolater 
Briton, Saxon, Dane, or Turk; with the papal tyrant or royal 
tyrant, but no less with infidel and idolater; and with the 
dissenter, but no less with the infidel and the idolater, and 
with the tyrant. 

Fourthly. The agents are Paulinus, Alfred, Canute, Richard I 
in Part i; Wyclif, Edward VI, Cranmer, Elizabeth, Laud, in 
Part 2; Charles II, William III, and Sacheverell, in Part 3. 
This bears out the analysis just given. Paulinus was a 
pioneer against idolatry, Alfred defended Christian Eng- 
land from the pagan sway, in the person of Canute, 

Sternest clime 

And rudest age are subject to the thrill 
Of heaven-descended Piety and Song, 

and Richard I represented England against the infidels. 
Wyclif was the opponent of papal and monastic tyranny, 
Cranmer was the victim of an idolatrous reign, Elizabeth 
would have been a queen as merciful as prudent had she not 
executed Mary Stuart, and it was Laud's sad fate 'to be 
crushed betwixt popery and schism.' 1 Finally, Charles II, 
the ' Circean ' reveler, and Sacheverell, the partisan, are ranged 
for contrast on either side of William III, who came 'to 
liberate, not defy,' whose 'steadfast eye' the 'vacillating 
Bondman of the Pope' could not meet. 

Fifthly. If infidelity, tyranny, and schism are the recurring 
perils of the pure Church, faith, justice and peace, mercy and 
humility, and unity, are its eternal triumphs. Evidence of 
this might be found in almost every sonnet of the series. 

1 Dedication by Henry Heylin to Cyprianus Anglicanus. 



64 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

Sixthly. The strands of the triple action can be traced 
back to the simple action, where pagan Persecution, Tempta- 
tions to servitude, and Dissensions are found implicated 
with 'bold faith' (1.24.7), 'low-bowed necks' (1.19.11), and 
'sacred converse' (1.26.14). Likewise these strands of the 
triple action can be traced through the double action, where 
'Venus' and 'Bacchus' (2.20), 'Pride' (2.18.14), and 'civil 
slaughter' (2.16.9) on the one hand, and more fortunately on 
the other, 'Mercy' (2.4.8), meekness and innocence (2.31 and 
2.32), and 'Unity' (2.9.2, 5) have both a retrospective and a 
prophetic function. 

Seventhly. Not only in the narrative, but also in the 
liturgical and architectural groups, filaments of idea lead back 
to the early stages of the series, where already exist 'meek 
doctrines' (1.3.8), and 'rites that console the Spirit' (1.20.6), 
and 'Christian monuments' (1.12.8), 'quiet Fortresses' (1.24. 
3), 'sacred Structures' (1.24.8). And in the second part, too, 
occur 'offices dispensing heavenly grace' (2.6.14), an d 'holy 
spires' (2.3.12) to point the way to the 'eternal City.' 

Eighthly. In the conquest of infidelity, tyranny, and schism, 
and in the achievement of faith, freedom, and unity, the wise 
man seeks 

Firmly between the two extremes to steer. 1 

2. STRUCTURE 

It needs but a glance at the engraving of the interior of 
King's College Chapel, or the recollection of certain funda- 
mental passages in the Description of the Scenery of the English 
Lakes, to indicate the structural models of this 'immense and 
glorious work of fine intelligence.' We may adopt the image 
of 'lofty pillars, . . . branching roof self-poised,' or we may 
think of the mountains of Westmoreland : 

'Their forms are endlessly diversified, sweeping easily or 
boldly in simple majesty, abrupt and precipitous, or soft and 

1 Eccl. Son. 2.40.11. 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 65 

elegant. In magnitude and grandeur they are individually 
inferior to the most celebrated of those in some other parts 
of this island; but in the combinations which they make, 
towering above each other, or lifting themselves in ridges like 
the waves of a tumultuous sea, and in the beauty and variety 
of their surfaces and colors, they are surpassed by none. ' l 

Either image is appropriate, for Wordsworth has used both in 
the Ecclesiastical Sonnets. Nor is there any doubt that as an 
artist he was conscious of his models. Structures 'where 
music dwells lingering and wandering on as loth to die,' 
and that 'superficies of the Earth' 2 whose 'primitive confor- 
mation' 2 determined the course of the rivers he had loved in 
boyhood, were not forgotten as guides when he was to trace 
the holy river to the eternal city. 

Of his 'heights of Time,' too, it may be said: 

'After a certain point of elevation . . . the sense of sub- 
limity depends more upon form and relation of objects to each 
other than upon their actual magnitude.' 3 

In his artistic procedure he follows a natural pattern : 

'Level areas open upon the traveler in succession, divided 
from each other sometimes by a mutual approximation of the 
hills, leaving only passage for a river, sometimes by corre- 
sponding windings, without such approximation; and some- 
times by a bold advance of one mountain towards that which 
is opposite it.' 4 

Therefore the Ecclesiastical Sonnets have 'sublimity,' which is 
the result of 'first great dealings,' and 'beauty,' 'a multiplicity 
of symmetrical parts uniting in a consistent whole.' 5 

For convenience in reading, the main features of the struc- 
ture will be given part by part. 

1 Prose Works 2.26-7. 

2 Prose Works 2.33, 30. 

3 Prose Works 2.92. 

4 Prose Works 2.30. 

6 Prose Works 2.33-4. 
6 



66 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

Part i a 

First we have a triad of frustrate attempts: the poet seeks, 
but seeking, is lost; Rome comes, but goes to return not; 
the Britons rise, but they, too, are lost. 

There is an opposition of values (71-0167-775) as well as of 
events (7rpats): transports and meek doctrines; that which 
feeds and cheers and that which enervates and divides; 
courage and despair. 

Of the triple theme, danger from paganism is dominant. 

Part i b 

The cadence here is a hopeful one; the action is definitely 
advanced. Except for the slight retardation due to apology 
and reproof, we find a triumphant sweep from Gregory, 
Augustine, and Paulinus to Alfred; 'glad hallelujahs' result 
in 'prosperous enterprise, justice, and peace.' The opposition 
of values in Part i a becomes in Part i b a perfect balance. 
'Good works mingle with the visions.' And Alfred's 'sacred 
converse' widens the scope of the design. 

Part i c 

Following the widened scope of Part i b both events and 
values now are extended throughout universal Christendom. 
The themes of peril from infidels and schism recur with 
emphasis; the theme of peril from Roman tyranny is again 
pre-eminent. Although mere events advance successfully 
from the line of Alfred and Canute to Richard, this specious 
gain is counterbalanced by an insidious perversion of spiritual 
power. 'Heaven-descended Piety and Song' become an im- 
agination which hears 'God willeth it!' in approval of the 
deeds of men ; this imagination leads enthusiasts into distress, 
and subjects an emperor to a pope. Thus the 'visions' of 
Part i b grow into a personification of ' the might of spiritual 
sway' and 'a ghostly domination un confined'; whereas the 
'good works' of Part ib end in thraldom, disregard for old 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 67 

laws, the derangement of ancient customs, and the upheaval 
of all Christendom. Wordsworth's vivid phrase for the con- 
centration in Part I c of the values which were opposed in 
Part I a and balanced in Part I b is as follows: 

Through earth and heaven to bind and to unbind. 1 

Part 2 a 

With the scope thus extended, the themes thus emphasized, 
and the values thus concentrated, the poet makes ready for 
his greatest structural synthesis. Power and Unity, even 
though they be Papal Power and Papal Unity, are reasserted 
as the ecclesiastical ideal. Acknowledgment is made of the 
good works and the heavenly offices of the Roman see. The 
1 one aim diffused through all the regions of the West ' seems 
to indicate a single confluence in Wordsworth's holy river. 
And the touch of assurance which could be traced in Part I b 
is present in these lines of Part 2 a: 

All promises vouchsafed by Heaven will shine 

In light confirmed while years their course shall run, 

Confirmed alike in progress and decline. 2 

Part 2 b 

Following upon so calm and just a restatement of the 
elements of the structural design, the opposition of the agents 
of pure faith and the agents of degenerate works becomes 
apparent. In this opposition the central counterpoise is that 
between selfishness and unselfishness, or 'high with low 
celestial with terrene.' It has, as buttresses or tributaries, on 
the one side an early counterpoise between pure faith and 
pompous rite, exemplified in the Vaudois, the Waldenses, and 
Wyclif, and on the other a later counterpoise between ' trump- 
ery' and things not seen, exemplified in the Reformation of 
the Church during the reign of Henry VIII. These three 
buttresses, of which the outer ones are narrative, and the 

l Ecd. Son. 1.39.8. 

3 Eccl. Son. 2.10.12-14. 



68 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

central one descriptive, are bound together by two others 
which include them only in part: the counterpoise between 
abuse and justice, and that between the 'airy bonds' of 
Papacy and the 'mastery' of the Crown. The cadence of 
Part 2 b, however, is a hopeful one for universal Christendom. 
As analysts we remark the skill with which Wordsworth 
has avoided trite distinctions of political and ecclesiastical 
history, and has stressed the fundamental opposition of selfish- 
ness and unselfishness in this his central structure a structure 
which is thus not less ethical than human nature. Nor should 
we fail to notice that Part 2 b contains The Point at Issue. 

Part 2 c 

But the hope for universal Christendom which always 
results when the elements of the structure come to an even 
balance or a just proportion is overturned by the recurrence 
of those themes which have maintained their insidious course. 
These are the perils of servitude to Rome, of 'Gods of wood 
and stone' (here the Spanish Gods), of schism. In Part 2c 
Elizabeth and James save and are saved from Marian idolatry 
and Jesuit practices, it is true; but from the fair designs of 
'holy and heavenly spirits' who would keep the balance and 
proportion, the action is wrenched into a 'terrible excess 
of headstrong will.' This, of course, the structure may only 
suggest ; it represents Laud as the victim. The analysis shows 
a quadruple and double grouping for Part 2 c, reminiscent of 
the strong opposition in Part I a. That which emerges 'pure, 
and seemingly more bright,' the Elizabethan moon, rides 
finally in 'gentle skies' which vainly reprove the 'conspicuous 
torment' of the flood. Hopes become a wilderness, blessings 
are cursed, glory is turned to shame. 

Part 3 a 

From the turmoil which the action indicates and the struc- 
ture firmly restrains, for the third time comes a hopeful cadence. 
As for events, James II, 'the Bondman of the Pope,' opposes, 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 69 

and is replaced by, William III. As for themes, the peril of 
idolatry disappears with this same 'conqueror beloved'; the 
peril of Roman tyranny disappears with him as it has faded 
with the acquittal of the Bishops; the peril of schism is for- 
gotten when the American divines return for their consecration 
at Lambeth. As for values, the Circean revels of Charles II 
are contrasted with and outweighed by the 'celestial light' 
of Milton; the brutality toward the Scottish Covenanters is 
atoned for by the acquittal of the Bishops; the 'eternal roll 
of praise' contains dissenter and churchman alike. Obliga- 
tions of civil to religious liberty bind this series of contrasts 
with the assertion of unity 'What came from heaven to heaven 
by nature clings.' Moreover, upon this series of contrasts 
rises a group, triple and tripartite, which reaffirms the triumph 
of soul over sense. The world is outweighed. Appropriately 
Wordsworth asks, 'Had mortal action e'er a nobler scope? ' l 

The action is complete, the swift stream runs but a lingering 
course, the everlasting pile is ready for its spires. 

One of these spires points to the dependence of star upon 
star in the services of the Church, that 'zodiac' of the ritual 
year; the other rests upon actual churchly foundations of the 
imperishable 'home.' 

Part 3 b 

The liturgical group has an introductory triad which leads 
the mind from Sacheverell and White to Bishops and Priests 
as a class; thence to the places of worship in their kindred 
nature; thence to the pastoral character. Here is a masterly 
transition. The liturgical services are arranged according to 
the ascent and decline of human life. In conclusion stand 
two sonnets (3.32, 33), 

Giving to Memory help when she would weave 
A crown for Hope ! 3 

1 Eccl. Son. 3.9.9. 

2 Eccl. Son. 3.33.5-6. 



70 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

Part 3 c 

Here the poet has erected the actual counterpart of his 
eternal city; and to it finally, with a gloria for all tabernacles, 
natural, human, and divine, comes to rest 

That Stream upon whose bosom we have passed 
Floating at ease while nations have effaced 
Nations, and Death has gathered to his fold 
Long lines of mighty Kings. 1 

These 'types of the spiritual Church' are most felicitously 
addressed in terms of the three theological virtues. The first 
four sonnets of the group, with passing reference to monastic 
domes, lead on to 'Charity' and 'judgments temperate'; in 
the second quartette the 'wished-for Temples rise, ' the 'Abode 
of genuine Faith'; and next come the 'Monuments of love 
Divine' which typify 'by reach of daring art Infinity's em- 
brace.' As a climax, and as a final instance of the three-fold 
structure of the series, this group is notable. 

But the 'guardian crest' of the temple, the 'silent Cross, 
among the stars shall spread. ' 

Thus does Wordsworth by another graceful transition return 
to the imagery of the natural world. Ocean and Alpine mount 
are invoked : 

Earth prompts Heaven urges; let us seek the light, 
Studious of that pure intercourse begun 
When first our infant brows their lustre won; 
So, like the Mountain, may we grow more bright 
From unimpeded commerce with the Sun, 
At the approach of all-involving night. 2 

ANALYSIS OF THE IMAGERY 

It follows from what has just been said that the structural 
design and the decorative imagery in the latter part of the 
series very nearly concur. Not only is this true here, but at 
all the crises and cadences. The decoration, however, has 

1 Eccl. Son. 347.6-9. 

2 Eccl. Son. 346.9-14. 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 71 

throughout been wisely subordinated to the structure, and must 
rather be sought as Dorothy Wordsworth, her brother, and 
Sir Walter Scott sought for the tracery on the stones of Melrose 
Abbey. 1 

According to Aristotle, 17 6\l/is ifrvxayuyLKov. 2 The spectacle 
wins the soul, even though it demand least skill. What o^s was 
to tragedy for Aristotle, decoration may be considered for the 
epic. And the natural spectacle of the Ecclesiastical Sonnets 
is something more than natural; if not strictly allegorical, it 
possesses a definite but intense associative power. It differs 
from the spectacle of Dante as the gardens of Westmoreland 
differ from those of Italy; but although it is seemingly more 
casual than Dante's rushes, Lethe and Eunoe, mount of pur- 
gatory, and ten heavens, it has a rigor and exactitude akin to 
those of the greater allegory; witness the following analysis: 

Earth, mountains, etc. 
Part I 

(i) Height? of lime; (2) savage island in the west; (3) 
mystic ring; (4) road of the outcast; (5) Snowdon's wilds, 
Brigantian coves, Sarum, Western Isles, lona; (6) Alban's 
flowery platform; (7) bespangled plain, reconstructed fanes; 
(8) temples flashing; (9) enervate land; (10) Cambria, Plin- 
limmon; (n) hill to hill, mountains, dust, field, foss, barrow, 
rampart; (12) indignant hills; (13) sad market; (14) uncon- 
scious shore; (15) royal hall; (16) warm abode; (17) dese- 
crated fane; (19) shrines; (20) smooth way; (21) perennial 
bower; (22) dry nook in the living rock; (23) flowery mead, 
wild coast; (24) quiet fortresses; (25) barbarous shores, 
general mart; (26) Jerusalem, Christian India; (27) green 
plot of open ground; (30) Ely, suffering earth; (31) hut and 
palace; (32) wasted fields, sacred earth; (33) Nazareth, 
Bethlehem, Clermont, hill to hill, Nature's hollow arch; 

1 Journals 2.134. 

2 Poetics, ch. 6. 




72 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

(34) Aquitaine, Spain, Italia, Bosphorus, Greece, precious 
tomb ; (35) Cyprus, Palestine ; (36) realms quake, ditches are 
graves; (37) gross materials of this world; (38) an emperor's 
neck leveled with earth ; (39) ancient thrones are stuff. 

Part 2 

(2) Spiritual tower, sheltering bower; (3) sylvan waste, 
fertile lea; (4) earthbound stone; (5) forbidding den; (6) 
embattled hall; (7) river's margin; (8) bright regions, earth's 
requiem; (9) one aim through all the West; (10) blest soil of 
gospel truth ; (i i) the banks of Rhone, Nature's craggy throne ; 
(12) subalpine vales, chasms; (13) mountain caverns; (14) 
from dens to sea-girt isle; (15) wilderness, cultured field, 
meadow-ground, garden; (16) fields that rival Cressy and 
Poictiers; (17) bones disinhumed and burned to ashes; (18) 
the way to Heaven; (19) cloistered avarice; (20) arched roofs 
abused; (21) mute belfries, unroofed choirs; (22) hushed green 
vales;. (23) new and questionable road; (24) mourning ham- 
lets, penitential desert; (25) Heaven's blue coast; (26) arch 
of Christendom; (27) cave, den, Arabian waste, stalking 
pillars of fiery sand; (28) ethereal plain; (29)^ ploughman; 
(31) clear land of vision; (32) clefts of woe; (33) gods of wood 
and stone; (34) chain and stake; (36) polemic dust; (37) 
broken staves; (38) a grateful isle; (39) heaviest soil, trusty 
staff, spic> shores of Araby the blest; (40) right courses; (41) 
tottering throne; (42) subterraneous treason; (43) ruin shed 
from the mountain; (44) wilderness; (45) prison, the en- 
sanguined chariot; (46) mercy cast off to the mountains. 

Part 3 

(2) The prostrate restored; (4) the sole temple of the 
inward mind; (6) wild coast ; (7) Alpine vale, Scottish moun- 
tain and moor and street; (8) city streets; (10) scaffold; (n) 
pulpit; (12) living landscapes, dark steeps; (13) sheltering 
nook; (14) wilds, distant shore; (17) fountains in sandy 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 73 

desert; (19) mountains hoary; (23) hill and dale; (31) grave, 
where is thy victory? (32) the still church-yard; (33) gay 
church; (34) rime melted on hill and plain, sublime towers 
dropped; (35) monastic domes fallen; (36) sacred roofs are 
shattered, fugitives seek the British strand; (37) the deliverer 
sails landward; (38) Egyptian plain; (39) grateful earth; 
(40) low pile, Cross; (41) forest glade, dust to dust; (42) 
sovereign hill, everlasting piles; (43) lofty pillars; (45) no 
perishable home; (46) roseate hues on Alpine mount, nether 
regions, rugged frame; (47) the eternal city. 

Clouds, storms, waters 
Part I 

(1) Source of a Holy river; (2) sacred well, fountain, nascent 
stream, precious current; (3) Menai's foam, diluvian truths; 
(4) God the one sole fount; (5) the growing rill; (6) lightning; 
(7) cessation of storm; (8) polar ice; (9) Pictish cloud; (10) 
stormy field; (n) tears flow like fountains; (12) melancholy 
stream; (13) Tiber's stream; (14) tempestuous sea of igno- 
rance; ( 1 6) wintry tempest; (17) fresh streams; (22) bustling 
brook, translucent pool; (23) beating billows; (24) timely 
rains; (25) classic lore glides on; (27) black tempests, dewy 
gloom; (29) clouds of Danish invasion; (30) the smooth flood, 
the barge; (31) Thames to Tyne; (33) profaneness flows from 
the source of Christian piety ; (34) the current of Turkish arms ; 
(35) midland brine; (37) ocean roars a vain appeal; (39) 
papal thunder. 

Part 2 

(2) Papal thunder; (7) turbid stream; (8) furled sails, tardy 
oars; (n) Rhone; (12) brooding mists, eternal snows; (13) 
rivers, marshes, Po; (14) over limitary floods; (15) wondering 
seas; (16) storm abated; (17) brook, Avon, Severn, sea, ocean; 

(22) Iris' cloudy shrine, watery glories on the stormy brine; 

(23) polar ice and open sea; (25) foam on central ocean; 
(27) Tiber, Ganges, Nile, spectral lakes; (28) Limbo lake; 



74 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

(32) tears of man; (33) prayer jn blind channels; (36) showers 
of blood, veteran thunders, fulminations new; (38) alien storms, 
home-bred ferments, black clouds; (39). buoyant bark, wave 
to wave; (40) steering between extremes; (41) every wave 
threatens the new-born Church ; (42) thunder-shower of blood ; 
(43) crown of snow, fretting waters, mad flood ; (44) the flood ; 

(46) Siloa's brook, the chambers of the deep. 

Part 3 

(i) Sunny mist; (3) gulf of bigotry; (6) tempests; (8) the 
busy Thames; (9) calm undercurrent from sea to sea, plough- 
ing storm; (n) quiet flow of truths; (12) the swift stream 
slackens; (15) stream of patient energy; (16) gulf profound; 
(17) fair ships on the deep; (19) sea; (20) timely shower; (30) 
storm-shattered vessel; (33) Christmas snows; (34) frosty 
rime; (36) moral tempest; (37) sunny bay; (38) Nile, flood 
of sacred truth; (39) dewy eve; (40) Alpine vapors; (41) ebb 
and flow; (42) Isis and Cam; (45) bubbles, foam; (46) ocean; 

(47) the living waters brighten as they roll. 

Flora and fauna 
Part I 

(i) Pastoral flowers, laurels, amaranth, palms; (3) sea-mew 
and cormorant; (4) thick woods; (6) flowery platform; (7) 
birds; (8) crown of thorns; .(9) roots of heresy; (10) Cambrian 
wood and moss; (15) eagle's beak; (16) sparrow; (17) ob- 
livious weeds; (19) winter trees, divine fruit; (21) ivy and 
elm; (22) sylvan arches, yellow leaves, beechen bowl, maple 
dish, hooting owl, crested fowl; (23) grove or flowery mead; 
(24) congregated bees; (25) seeds of life; (27) sincere root, 
branches bold, oak, fostered hyacinths; (28) Benedictine coop; 
(32) wasted fields; (35) courage leonine. 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 75 

Part 2 

(i) Heaven-born flowers, worldly weeds; (2) brute rapine; 
(3) aery harvests; (4) steer or hound, rooted trees; (7) flowers 
of chivalry, wreaths that shall not fail, lamb and lion, eagle and 
dove; (9) pinions of higher sweep; (10) the tree bearing 
celestial fruit, blighted branches, withered shoots; (n) reeds; 
(12) herbs and chestnuts; (13) reedy fens; (14) the lark; (15) 
leopard, lily; (18) pompous horses; (20) the sprightly juice; 

(21) gadding bramble, purple fruit, wren, lizard, newt, owl of 
evening, woodland fox ; (24) dragons; (25) fancied roses; (27) 
forest; (28) green and yellow leaves, goodly fruitage, mother- 
spray; (29) shepherd; (37) escaping birds, poisonous weeds; 
(44) ancient pine-trees; (45) bird in snare; (46) wood and 
waste. 

Part 3 

(i) Darksome tree; (2) springtime renewed; (3) Circean 
revels; (5) glow-worms; (7) wood; (13) woods; (15) seed of 
Christian unity, wide-spreading family; (16) wolves and sheep ; 
(17) palm-groves; (20) Nature's bed of weeds, Christian 
flowers; (21) adopted plant, everlasting bloom; (22) vernal 
posy, distant bee; (24) summer-leaf; (25) gloomiest shade; 
(29) timely fruit; (31) withered grass; (32) garland gay; (33) 
linnet, thrush, fresh holly; (34) crown of weeds; (39) virgin 
sod, mystic Dove, hawthorns, oaks, daisies; (40) pine-tree, 
green moss; (41) native turf, rugged colts, wild deer; (43). 
branching roof; (45) wreath of wisdom; (47) coiled snake. 

Sky, winds, sun, moon, 'stars, etc. 

Part i 

(4) Stars; (5) darkness; (6) ethereal storehouses; (7) blue 
ether; (9) fiery brand, high Heaven; (10) sunny light; (n) 
pagan night; (14) morning fair; (16) blazing fire; (18) dark- 
ness, midnight stars, noonday blaze; (19) the common air; 

(22) soft heaven; (24) needful sunshine; (26) starry ether, 



76 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

day's cheer, night's awe; (28) supernatural world; (29) full- 
orbed moon, ethereal sky; (31) stars and tapers shine, lamps 
and fires are quenched; (32) Heaven; (35) giddy heights; 
(36) papal shadow; (37) sky's fantastic element; (39) view- 
less wind. 

Part 2 

(2) Error's darkest hour; (5) astronomer, starry throng; 
(7) heartfelt fragrance on the gale; (10) light of Heaven's 
promises; (n) tapers, incense, soft breeze; (12) God's good 
winter; (13) glorious lights of martyrdom; (14) solitary spark, 
sacred fire; (15) no sullen fire, the fanning breeze; (17) Voice 
walking on the wind; (20) blazing fire; (21) quenched tapers; 
(22) celestial blushes, summer suns, sober light; (23) pro- 
pitious winds; (24) radiant shapes, sweet gales; (25) eastern 
skies at daybreak; (26) fire; (27) ghostly tenants of the wind; 
(28) hurricane, airy bonds; (31) genuine morning-star, papal 
darkness; (34) torch of inextinguishable light; (35) ghastly 
ruins of the fire; (36) fields of light; (38) glorious light of 
Elizabeth's silver car; (39) gales from field and bower; (42) 
dismal night; (44) gentle skies; (45) celestial air; (46) the 
firmament. 

Part 3 

(2) Earliest beam of light ; (4) secrets from above the starry 
sphere, pure spirit of celestial light; (5) lonely tapers, lucid 
ring, satellites, stars on high, fairest sky; (8) a voice shatters 
the air; (9) sun; (10) star of liberty; (12) horizon line; (13) 
galaxy that knows no end; (15) apostolic light; (17) star 
dependent upon star; (19) zodiac; (23) sunset; (24) star- 
crowned Muse; (25) path of light; (32) sky red with evening 
lights; (33) fiery blights; (34) silent air; (37) soft and happy 
gale; (38) Sabbath bells on the breeze; (40) sun and fresh 
air; (41) morn and even; (42) the world above; (43) light and 
shade; (44) coming night; (45) sky-like dome, silent Cross- 
among the stars; (46) purpureal flame, sun; (47) noontide. 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 77 

This analysis justifies a few inferences: 

First. The Ecclesiastical Sonnets are richly endowed with 
natural imagery. 

Secondly. This imagery is not used for its own sake, but to 
emphasize the structure of the poem, and to recall associations 
proper to the theme. 

Thirdly. The arrangement of the imagery in each case 
accords with the advance of the plot. 

Fourthly. The imagery constitutes a four- fold decoration, 
the conventionalized phenomena of the earth, the waters, 
flora and fauna, the heavens. 

Fifthly. Although it is possible to trace these separately, 
they are interwoven with great skill and in a very just pro- 
portion. 

Sixthly. The associations of the individual elements of the 
decoration seem to be distinct: 

Earth : The mere frame or basis of material life ; to which 

all things resort ; out of which all things come. 

The waters : The mobile, incalculable influence of divine 

grace upon human life; as such, the characteristic phe- 
nomena of spiritual history. 

Flora and fauna: The results of the influence of divine 

grace in human life; definite but transient. 

The heavens: The pattern of the divine toward which 

human life is prompted from below and urged from above; 

not calculable, but permanent. 

Were books alone to be considered, Wordsworth's familiar 
knowledge of the Bible and his intimacy with Virgil, Horace, 
Lucretius, and Catullus 1 would account for the skill with 
which he handles natural imagery as a subordinate element in 
the design. He was scarcely insensible of the artistic range of 
'pater aether' and 'Venus genetrix' as the classic poets had 
conceived them. 2 And the whole course of his thought recalls 
the Hebrew conception of nature in the Psalms. His indebt- 
edness to Latin, Biblical, and English literary tradition, how- 
ever, will be elsewhere retailed. 

1 Letters 2.179. 

2 Cf. Cook, Chaucerian Papers I. 1-21, in -Trans. Conn. A cad. of Arts 
and Sciences, Nov., 1919. 



78 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

But the mountains and streams of Westmoreland are not 
less concerned in his decorative imagery than in his structural 
design. For what the latter owed to the Description of the 
Scenery of the English Lakes, the former owes to The River 
Duddon. Nor would it be wise to discount the gain in crafts- 
manship made in the writing of either of these antecedent 
works. 

Turning to Wordsworth's note on The River Duddon, then, 
we find a further definition of his purpose, and an acknowledg- 
ment of his debt to Coleridge and to Burns which enables us 
to connect both of his great contemporaries with the Ecclesi- 
astical Sonnets. Wordsworth says : 

* In this manner I had proceeded insensibly, without per- 
ceiving that I was trespassing upon ground preoccupied, at 
least as far as intention went, by Mr. Coleridge; who, more 
than twenty years ago, used to speak of writing a rural poem, 
to be entitled "The Brook," of which he has given a sketch 
in a recent publication. 1 . . . May I not venture, then, to 
hope that, instead of being a hindrance by any anticipation 
of any part of the subject, these sonnets may remind Mr. 
Coleridge of his own more comprehensive design, and induce 
him to fulfil it? There is a sympathy in streams, "one 
calleth to another"; and I would gladly believe that "The 
Brook" will ere long murmur in concert with "The Duddon." 
. . . The power of waters over the minds of poets has been 
acknowledged from the earliest ages; through the "Flumina 
amem sylvasque inglorius" of Virgil, down to the sublime 
apostrophe to the great rivers of the earth by Armstrong, and 
the simple ejaculation of Burns (chosen, if I recollect right, 
by Mr. Coleridge as a motto for his embryo "Brook"): 

The Muse nae Poet ever fand her, 
Till by himsel' he learned to wander, 
Adown some trotting burn's meander, 
AND NA' THINK LANG.' 2 

If there be a 'sympathy in streams "one calleth to an- 
other,"' and if the trotting burn and The Brook called to 
The River Duddon, may not The River Duddon have called to 
' the holy river ' ? 

1 Cf. Biographia Literaria, ed. by Shawcross, 1.129. 

2 P. W., Oxford ed., p. 908. 



MANUSCRIPT F 

[Bracketed numbers indicate the successive pages of the 
manuscript. Words deleted in the original are printed in 
pointed brackets. The first sheet, unnumbered, bears the 
general title 'Ecclesiastical Sonnets.'] 



80 



THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 



CONTENTS 



Eccl. Sonnets 



Introduction I 

Conjectures 2.3 

Druidical Excom. 48 

Uncertainty 4 

Persecution 5 

Recovery 40 

Persuasion 7.8 

Crusades _ 35.39 

An Interdict 21 

Papal Abuses 20 

Scene in Venice 23.32 

Papal Dominion 22 
Waldenses <33->37-38-55 

Arch. Chicheley 10 

Wickliff 14 

Reflections 9 

Cranmer 50 
Troubles of Reformation 42 

Reformers in Exile 27 

Elizabeth 43-44 

Eminent Reformers I5-I6 

The Same 45 

Gunpowder Plot 36 



Illustration 12 

Troubles of Ch: the first 13 

Charles the 2nd 26 

Down a swift stream 17 

Pastoral Character 24 

The Liturgy 33 

Mutability 54 
Old Abbeys 49 <5O> 

New Ch: yard 53 

Kings Coll: Chapel 51 



Transferred to other Series 



The Fall of Aar 6.41 

Decay of Piety 1 1 

Sky Prospect 18.19 30 

Not Love nor War 25 



Long Meg & Daughters 46.47 
Parsonage in Oxfordsh: 52 



Fragments 



[On] pages 



28.29 31.34 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 81 

I PART I 

I who descended with glad step to chace 
Cerulean Duddon from his cloud fed spring 

dared 

And of my wild companions (strove) to sing 
In verse that moved with strictly measured pace 

essayed the nobler stream to trace 
I who (confiding till all sober trace) 

Liberty and smote the plausive string 
Of faith was lost to millions, smote the string 

the checked torrent fiercely 
Till (Freedom like a torrent) combating 

In victory found her natural resting place 

Now seek on Times sequestered height the source 

Of a great river on whose banks are found 

Sweet 

Both pastoral flowers & laurels that have crowned 

Full oft the unworthy brow of lawless force 
And for delight of him who tracks its course 
(Bright wreaths of Amaranth and palms (are found)) 

abound 
Immortal amaranth and palms abound. 

In Miss Wordsworth's hand writing. 

[2] 

II PART I 

If there be Prophets on whose spirit rest 
Past things revealed like future let them tell 
How the prime gushings of that sacred well 
Rose to refresh the Islands barren breast 

through 

Did holy Paul a wandered [?r] in the west 
As some have taught awhile in Britain dwell 
And call the fountain forth by miracle 
And with dread signs the nascent stream invest 
Or He whose chains dropped off whose prison doors 
Flew open by an angels voice unbarred? 

lower 

Or some of humbler name to these wild shores 
Storm-driven; who having seen that cup of woe 
Pass from their master, sojourned here to guard 
The precious current they had taught to flow. 

See p. 3. 



82 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

[3] 

II PART I 

Where lies the ground on Albion that was blest 
With the first gushings of that sacred well 

flood 

What song of Bard, O Mighty stream, can tell 
Thy origin attest 

through 

Did holy Paul a wanderer in the west 
As some have taught awhile in Britain dwell 
And called thy fountain forth by miracle 
And with dread signs thy nascent stream invest 
Darkness surrounds us, seeking we are lost 
Mid shade unpierceable of Druid groves 
Shades that enwrap the majesty unknown 
Of Temples still preserved in mountain coves 
Entire, and seeming perfect as the moon 

begins 
Before her wane [?] on heavens blue coast 

See page 2. 



[4] 

V. PART I 

Yes if the patriot sons of England turn 

a proud 

With votive step to grassy Runnymede 
If Scotia's children tremble while they tread 
Panting for chains to break, for foes to spurn 
The flowery brink of slender Bannockburn 
Shall sympathy be wanting while I plead 
For hidden evidence of place and deed 

<or> 

And oer the silent waste of ages mourn. 
Darkness surrounds us, seeking we are lost 
Mid shade unpierceable of Druid groves 
Shades that enwrapped the Majesty unknown 
Of pristine temples yet mid mountain coves 
Preserved, or traceable in masses strewn 
Like wrecks far flung upon a lonely coast. 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 83 

/ 

VI PART I 

Lament, for Dioclesian's fiery sword 
Works busy as the lightening but instinct 
With malice ne'er to deadliest weapon linked 
Which Gods etherial storehouses afford: 
Against the followers of the incarnate Lord 
It rages; some are smitten in the field 
Some are pierced beneath the unavailing shield 
Of sacred home; with pomp are others gored 
And dreadful respite. Thus was Alban tried 

England's first martyr whom 

(Whose magnanimity) no threats* could shake 

Self offered victim for his friend he died 
And for the faith, nor shall his name forsake 
That hill whose flowery platform seems to rise 
By nature decked for holiest sacrifice. 

Partly in [?] Mrs. Wordsworth's hand writing. 

[6] 

ITINERARY SONNETS, CONTINENT 1820 
XIII 

When we behold this Alpine torrent throwing 

His giant body from the steep rocks brink 

Back in astonishment and fear we shrink 

But high and low a calmer look bestowing 

Flowers we descry beside the torrent growing 

Flowers that peep forth from many a cleft & chink 

And from the whirlwind of her anger drink 

Hues ever fresh in rocky fortress blowing 

They suck from breath that threatening to destroy 

Is more benignant than the dewy eve 

Beauty and life and motions as of joy: 

Nor doubt that He to whom yon pine trees nod 

Their heads in sign of worship, Nature's God 

These humbler adorations will receive. 

In [?] Mrs. Wordsworth's hand writing. 



84 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 



[7] 

XVI PART I 

The life of man may be compared, O King 

Even to a sparrow one that while you sit 

Housed with your Friends hath entered & doth flit 

Beneath your warm roof's happy covering 

Then forth in all mens sight on hasty wing 

It flies and passes on from cold to cold 

But whence it came we know nor behold 

Whither it goes. Even such a transient thing 

Our human soul" not utterly unknown 

While in the body lodged its warm abode; 

But from what world it came, what woe or weal 

On its departure waits, no tongue hath shewn; 

This mystery if the Preacher can reveal 

His be a welcome joyfully bestowed. 

See p. 8. 

[8] 

XVI. PART I 

Mans life is like a sparrow, Mighty King 

That entereth and departeth as you sit 

Housed with your Friends. In truth 'tis seen to flit 

Well sheltered and in comfort tarrying 

For a brief while, then forth on hasty wing 

She flies and passes on from cold to cold 

But whence she [?cameH we know nor behold 

Whither she goes Even such that transient thing 

The human Soul, not utterly unknown 

While in the body lodged its warm abode 

But from what world it came, what woe or weal 

Its future course attends, no tongue hath shewn; 

stranger 

This mystery if the < stranger > teacher can reveal, 
His be a welcome cordially bestowed. 

See page 7. 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 85 

XXVIII PART II 

Grant that by this unsparing hurricane 
Green leaves with yellow mixed were rent away 
And goodly fruitage with the mother spray 
Twere madness, wished we therefore to detain 

sighs 

With farewell grief of mollified disdain 
The "trumpery" that ascends in bare display 
Bulls pardons relics cowls black white & grey 
Upwhirled and flying oer the ethereal plain 
Fast bound for Limbo Lake. Rejoice, be glad 
That the devices which have ministerred 
To the green Islands shame at length have flown 
But that high power fate suddenly transferred 

(To enforce that might make a wise King) sad 
Might make the ruler .... 

Both for her peoples sake and for her own 

such 

But that high power full rightfully transferred 
What wonder if the crown assumes a voice 
Of reckless mastery hitherto unknown 



[10] 

XV PART II 

Illustrious King 

(Is there a flower) in garden or in field 

What flower so beauteous as 

(That boasts the beauty of) the crimson rose 

Fair in herself and when beside her blows 
The towering lilly lacks the power to yield 

mix 

Fairer she seems to (blend) them on thy shield 

<may> 

Wrest the proud lilly from usurping foes 

Haste to their shores nor let them feel repose 

If there be sword to grasp or axe to wield 

Till Heaven has crowned the right. The wily Sire 

Thus spake, and Lo! a fleet to Gaul addressed 

Ploughs its bold course, across the wondering seas 

For sooth to say ambition in the breast 

Of youthful Heroes is no sullen fire 

But one that leaps to meet the fanning breeze. 



86 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

[II] 
TRANSFERRED TO Misc. SONNETS No I XXII 

DECAY OF PIETY 

A gleam of joy upon my furrowed cheek 
I think of those who punctual to the call 
Of their loved church on fast or festival 

Through the long year the House of God 

(High converse in the House of Prayer) [?] seek. 

<By Christmas snows, by blasts of Ember week> 

By Christmas snows 

(Such my youth saw) by blasts of Ember week 

By Easter rains 

(By Christmas snows) unscared from hut or hall 

They came t lowly bench or sculptured stall 

fervour 

But with one spirit of devotion meek. 
I seek the places where they once were known 
And ask surrounded even by kneeling crowds 
Is antient piety for ever flown? 
Alas! Even then they seemed like fleecy clouds 
That struggling through the western sky have won 
Their pensive light from a departed sun. 



[12] 

And doth in more conspicuous torrent writhe 
Deafening the region in her ireful mood. 

XLIII PT II 

Virgin Mountain 

(The Jung Frau) wearing like a (maiden) queen 
<young> 

A brilliant crown of everlasting snow 
Sheds ruin from her sides; and men below 
Wonder that aught of aspect so serene 

desolation 
Can link with <devastation>. Smooth, and green, 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 87 

And seeming at a little distance, slow 
The waters of the Rhine, but on they go, 
Fretting & whitening keener and more keen, 

Till madness seizes on the whole wide flood 
And down the precipice its nostril breathes 
Blasts of tempestuous smoke, wherewith it tries 
To hide itself, and doth but aggrandize (?) 
To earth to heaven, above and underneath 
Roaring like ocean or a mighty wood 

Turned to a fearful thing whose nostrils breathe 
Blasts of tempestuous smoke wherewith it tries 
To hide < itself > himself but only magnifies. 
To earth to heaven above and underneath 

Roaring like ocean or some mighty wood. 

Roaring like storms at war with some huge (vast) wood 

Roaring with voice no [?] extinguished 

And doth in more conspicuous torment writhe 
In I?] Mr. Wordsworth hand writing. 



[13] 

XLIV. PART II 

Such contrast in whatever track we move 
To the mind's eye Religion doth present 
Now like the mountain with still peace content 
And in a moment thundering from above 
Against the ancient cedars of grove 

humblest 
And the Lands < humblest > comforts Now her mood 

temper of a headland 
Recals the (transformation of the) flood 

Whose sudden rage the 
(Whose rage the gentle) heavens in vain reprove 

Fury in 
Earth can not check. (Of fury) such access 



88 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

Noblest of guides and guardians seized on thee 
Or some pretender to thy shape and name 

Shall 

As England witness(ed) struggling to be free 

Yet scourged with pride of desperate wretchedness 
Her blessings cursed her glory turned to shame 

As Royal Charles the first who bore the name 
Witnessed while England struggling to be free 
Was scourged, 



[14] 

XVII PART II 

through many a 
When Wickliff having lain (from year to) year 

Within the graves dark cell was disinhumed 

were 
And his dry bones to ashes was consumed 

that travelled 
These flung into a brook (whose course was) near 

that ancient 

Thus spake a <that ancient > voice (from heaven) 

which streams can hear 

Parting the clouds or walking on the wind 

((Albeit passage seldom it can find 

Voice seldom heard by busy 

Into the busy hearts of) human kind 

As thou these ashes little brook wilt bear 

Into the Avon, Avon to the tide 

Of Severn, Severn to the narrow seas 

Into <the> main Ocean they this deed accurst 

An emblem yields to friends and enemies 

How the bold Teachers doctrine sanctified 

throughout 
By truth shall spread < through > the [Pworld] disperst 

Thus spake that antient voice that streams can hear 
That antient voice which walks upon the wind 
Though seldom heard by busy 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 89 

XXXIX PT. II 

Methinks that I could trip o'er heaviest soil 

<[?]vastest> 
Light as a buoyant bark from wave to wave 

trusty 

Were mine the precious staff that Jewel gave 
To youthful Hooker in familiar style 
His gift exalting, and with playful smile 
And who a farewell blessing meek and grave 
And thus accomplished who could fear to brave 
Tempests or weight of way, or length of toil. 
More sweet those odours caught by him who sails 
Near spicy shores of Araby the blest 
Detained a thousand times more touching sweet 

freight feeling 

That breath of holy rapture which we meet 
In thoughtful moments wafted by the gales 
Of history from the tombs where good men rest. 

See page 16. 

[16] 
XXXIX PT. II 

Methinks that I could trip oer heaviest soil 

Light as a <boy> buoyant bark from wave to wave 

Were mine the trusty staff that Jewel gave 

To youthful Hooker in familiar style 

The gift exalting and with playful smile 

A farewell blessing crowned the travellers head 

(Then did a farewell blessing crown his head 

And in this sort accomplished who could dread 

And thus accomplished could the traveller dread) 

Tempest or length of way or weight of toil 

More sweet than odours caught by him who sails 

Along the 

(Near spicy) shores of Araby the blest 

A thousand times more exquisitely sweet 

(Detained a thousand times more touching sweet) 

The freight of holy feeling which we meet 

In thoughtful moments wafted by the gales 

Of history from the tombs where good men rest 

See page 15. 

Accomplished thus and bearing on his head 
A farewell blessing could the traveller dread 



90 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

[17] 

XII PART III 

In Index = "Down a swift Stream" 

The confidence of youth our only art 
And hope gay Pilot of the bold design ^ 
We saw the living landscape of the Rhine 
Reach after reach salute us and depart 
Slow sink the spires and up again they start 
And who shall count the towers as they recline 
Oer the dark steeps, or on the horizon line 
With shattered crests standing the eye athwart 
Stand with their shattered crest the eye athwart 
In awful silence. Yet more deep the pleasure 
And yet more deep more perfect was the pleasure 

(rapid) 
When hurried forward till the slackening stream 

[?] 

Spread like an ample mere 
Was spread into a lake we then could measure 

A [?] more 
(A tranquil course) along the watery gleam 



Though dull I now regret, that such calm leisure 
Such solemn peace (await our?) future theme. 

[18] 
ITINERARY SONNET CONTINENT 1820 

XXXIV 

Yet all is harmless as the Elysian shades 
Where spirits dwell in undisturbed repose 
Silently disappears or quickly fades 
As if produced in mockery of the shows 

hourly 

That for oblivion take their < hasty > birth 
From the disorders of the wanton earth. 
Upon a River I have long been pent 

ween 

And captive holden betwixt shore and shore 
In shallows oft detained, by joys oershaded 
Mount fancy mount! These wonders to explore 
But quickly some dissolved and others faded 
And with my portion I was well content 

See page 19 30. 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 91 

[19] 
CONTINENT 1820 

XXXIV 

splendid 

Lo! in the burning west the craggy nape 
Of a proud Ararat and thereupon 
The ark her melancholy voyage done 
Yon rampant cloud mimics a lions shape 
There combats a huge 
(See there a monstrous) crocodile agape 
A golden spear to swallow! and that brown 
And massy grove, so near yon blazing town 
Stirs and recedes destruction to escape! 
Mimics of fancy long my heart has beat 
The servile map of history to explore 
By these wild feats such labour is upbraided 
Mine eyes were turned away; but when once more 
They looked so much had disappeared or faded 
That with my portion I was well content 
Sighing I turned away but when once more 
I looked so much 

See pages 18-30. 

[20] 

XXXVIII [XXXVII] PART I 

And verily, as we our course pursue 
The gross materials of this world present 
A marvelous study of wild 
(A pageantry of marvellous) accident 
Uncouth proximities of old and new 
And bold transfigurations more untrue 
As might be deemed to disciplined intent 
Than aught the skys fantastic element 
When most fantastic offers to the view 

<our> 
scourged 

[?Lo] royal shoulders bare at Becket's shrine 
To penal stripes; Lo John puts off his crown, 
To be with sceptre mantle ring laid down 
At a proud Legates feet. The spears that line 
Baronial halls the opprobrious treason feel 
And angry ocean roars a vain appeal. 
John self dispoiled of his insignia; crown 
Sceptre and mantle, sword and ring laid down 



92 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

[21] 
XXXVI PART I 

(An interdict preceding the disgrace 
as if designed to typify the Power) 

By those dread words that 

that 
The word hath issued <forth> from hope of grace 

Cuts off a universal Realm. The Power 
That boasts command of Heavens eternal door 

Hath closed the gates of every holy 
Closed every church and consecrated place 

Strait from the sun and tainted airs embrace 

sacred 

All holy things are covered ; chearf ul morn 
Grows sad as night No seemly garb is worn 

is. a face allowed to meet a face 
Nor mirth allowed nor face that meets a face 

With natural smiles of greeting. Bells are dumb 

Ditches are graves funereal rites denied 

And in the churchyard he must take his bride 

Who dares be wedded. Fancies thickly come 

Into the pensive heart ill fortified 

And comfortless despairs the soul benumb. 

The universal realm from hope of grace 
Is by a word cut off the dreadful power 



[22] 

XXXIX PART I 

Unless to Peters chair the voiceless wind 
Must come and ask permission when to blow, 
What further empire would it have? For now 
A ghostly domination unconfined 
As that by dreaming bards to Love assigned 
Sits there in sober truth to raise the low 

Perplex the wise strong 

The strong to curb, the proud to overthrow 

Through earth and Heaven to bind & to unbind ! 
Resist the thunder quails thee, crouch, rebuff 
Shall be thy recompense! from land to land 
The antient thrones of Christendom are stuff 
For occupation of a magic wand, 
And 'tis the Pope that wields it, whether rough 
Or smooth his front, our world is in his hand 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 93 

[23] 

XXXVIII PART I 

A Scene 

About the same period 
In the church of St. Mark Venice 

Black Demons hovering oer his mitred head 
To Caesar's successor the Pontiff spake, 
Ere I absolve thee stoop that on thy neck 
Levelled with earth this foot of mine may tread 
Then he who to the altar had been led 
He whose strong arm the orient could not check 
He who had held the Soldan at his beck 
Stooped of all glory disinherited 
And e'en the common dignity of man 
Amazement seized (<on all>) the crowd while 
(Humiliating sight where) many turn 
Their eyes away in sorrow others burn 
In sorrow or amazement while some burn 
With scorn invoking a vindictive ban 

outraged 
From holy Nature, but the sense of most 

is 
In abject sympathy with power was lost 

See page 32. 



[24] 

XVIII PART III 

A cleanly fire a hospitable board 

And a refined rusticity belong 

(These fancy shews as adjuncts that belong) 

To the neat mansion where his flock among 

The happy pastor dwells their watchful Lord 

Though meek and patient as a sheathed sword 

thought 

Though Pride's least lurking A appear a wrong 
To human kind; though peace be on his tongue 
Gentleness in his heart 

And gentleness there dwell, can earth afford 
Such genuine state, pre-eminence so free 
As when equipped with Christ's authority 
He from the pulpit lifts his awful hand 
Conjures implores and labours all he can 
For re-subjecting to divine command 
The stubborn spirit of rebellious man. 



94 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

[25] 
MISCELLANEOUS SONNETS PART II 

IX 

And must we having left behind the swell 
Of war and conflict and the wrecks of change 
And duty struggling with afflictions strange 
Henceforth to silence doom the chorded shell 
Unworthy thought where peace and concord dwell 
There also is the Muse not loth to range 

chimney 

She loves the blue smoke from the elmy grange 
Skyward ascending from the twilight dell 
Mute aspirations soothe her lone endeavour 
And sage content and quiet melancholy 
Her eyes delight to brood upon a river 
Diaphanous because it [?] travels slowly 
Soft is the music that would please forever 
The flower of sweetest smell is shy and lowly. 



[26] 
III PART III 

See royal Charles with frantic joy carest 
From exile lands his Kingdom to regain 
Him virtue's nurse <ry>, adversity, in vain 
Received and fostered in her iron breast' 
For all she taught of hardiest and of best 
Or would have taught by discipline of pain 
And long privation now dissolved amain 
Or is remembered only to give zest 
To wantonness away Circean revels 

the people 

Already stands our country on the brink 
Of bigot rage that all distinction levels 
Of truth and falsehood, swallowing her good name 
And with that draught the life blood, misery, shame 
By poets loathed, from which historians shrink. 

Who comes with rapture greeted and carest 
With boundless love his kingdom to regain. 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 95 

XXXVII PART II 

Scattered like birds escaped the murtherers net 

alien 

(Some fly for safety to a <foreign>) strand 
Some seek with timely flight a foreign 
Most happy re-assembled in the land 
(Of safety, might they could the[y] ere forget) 
Of Luther could they Englands woes forget 
Their country woes. But scarcely have they met 
Alas the fugitives have scarcely met 
Partners in faith and brothers in distress 
Free to pour forth their common thankfulness 
In worship, when their union is beset 
With prurient speculations rashly sown 

(thickly) 
Whence 

<When> a thickly sprouting growth of jarring creeds; 
(Whence an unhallowed) 

Their truths are broken staves, their passions steeds 
That master them; they split in vain how blest 
Is he who may by help of grace, enthrone 
The peace of God within his single breast 

[28] 

Who comes with rapture greeted and carest 
With boundless love his kingdom to regain? 
Him virtues nurse, adversity, in vain 
Received and nurtured in her iron breast 
Whateer she taught of hardiest and of best 

See p. 26. 

I deplore 

With filial grief the sad vicissitude 
If she has fallen and pitying heaven restore 
The prostrate, and my springtime is renewed 
And sorrow bartered for exceeding joy 

See Sonnet II part III. 

In quest of Limbo Lake. And yet not choice 

unreflecting 

But habit rules the < unrelenting > herd 
And airy bonds are hardest to disown 
Hence with the spiritual sovereignty transferred 
Unto itself the crown assumes a voice 
Of reckless mastery hitherto unknown 

See p. 9. 



96 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

[29] 

The spirit of Nassau 
By constant impulse of religious awe 
Swayed and thereby enabled to contend ^ 
With the wide worlds commotions from its end 
Swerves not diverted by a casual law 

See Son: IX part III. 

Stay the loved song and bid the harp farewell 

[30] 

CONTINENT 1820 
XXXIV 

See in the burning west the craggy nape 
Of a proud Ararat and thereupon 
The ark her melancholy voyage done 

mimics 
That rampant cloud (assumes) a lions shape 

See there a monstrous 

(That other is a) crocodile agape 

A 
Yon golden spear to swallow, and those brown 

massy groves yon 

And (sullen clouds) so near that blazing town 

Stirs and recedes 

(Are groves that now) destruction to escape 

Mimics of Fancy! long my heart has beat 

The servile map of history to explore 

By these wild feats I feel myself upbraided 

when 

So mine eyes turned away, but <then> once more 
They looked, so much had disappeared or faded. 

See pages 18.19. 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 97 

[31] 

rampant cloud assumes a lion's shape 
That cloud assumes a rampant lion's shape 

See there a monstrous crocodile agape 

A golden spear to swallow, and that brown 

massy 

And <that> grove so near yon blazing town 
Stirs and recedes destruction to escape 

See pages <3O> 
18. 19. 30. 



[32] 

XXXVIII PART I 

Black Demons hovering o'er his mitred head 
(When to the church the emperor was led 

To Cesars successor 

At Venice looking in) the Pontiff spake 

Ere I absolve thee stoop that on thy neck 
Levelled with earth this foot of mine may tread 

Then he who to the altar had been led 
(The mighty word was scarcely uttered 

whose strong 

When) He <arms> arms the orient could not check 
He who had held the Soldan at his beck 
Stooped of his glory disinherited 
And even the common dignity of man 
Humiliating sight when many turned 

or 

In Scorn <and> in amazement; and some burned 
For counter interdict and vengeful ban 
From outraged nature, but the sense of most 
In abject sympathy with power was lost 

See page 23. 



98 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

C33] 

XIX PART II [III] 

Or if the intensities of hope and fear 
((O seek we a way of hope and fear 

Attract us still and passionate exercise 
High thoughts and passionate solemnities 

Of lofty thoughts that 

Of faith and love <of > such) way before us lies 

Distinct with in 

(Marked out by) signs through which (with) fixed career 

As through a Zodiac moves the ritual year 
Of England's church stupendous mysteries; 
Which whoso travels in her bosom eyes 
As he approaches them with solemn cheer 
Enough for us to cast a transient glance 

<The circle through > giving up 

Through the dread circle (and to leave) its story 

For those whom Heaven has fitted to advance 

chaunt 

With harp in hand and sing the King of glory 
From his meek advent till his countenance 

dissipate the 
Shall (make a wreck of) sun and mountains hoary 

The circle through relinquishing its story 
For 

<See pages 37 38. 55 > 



And thus a structure potent to enchain 
The eye of wonder rose in this fair Isle 
Not built with calculations nice and vain 
But in mysterious nature's boldest style 
Not orderly as some basaltic pile 
That steadfastly repels the fretful main. 

See Sonnet XXIV part I. 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 99 

XXXIV PART I 

The order of the Druids 

Much are they blamed who with mightiest lever 
Known to the moral world, Imagination 
Uplifted Christendom from her natural station 
They sweep along such host till now was never 

To rescue from 

Arrayed in march to tear from the Deceiver 

The precious tomb their haven of salvation 

They sweep along enormous inundation 

But sooth this war though mixed by selfish passion 

Whose no human 

With base allo[?y] (what thence no) skill can sever 
Even as a sharp pike in a bucklers boss 
Makes an efficient portion of the shield 

Which Providence .doth wield 

For the great purpose mainly to defend 
Kingdoms and states whose hope is in the cross 

See page 39. 



[36] 

XLII PART II 

GUNPOWDER PLOT 

Fear hath a hundred eyes that all agree 

To plague her beating heart, and there is one 

(Nor idlest that) which holds communion 

With things that were not yet were meant to be 
The purposes of baffled destiny 

which views 

That eye beholds as if fulfilled & done 
Crimes that might stop the motions of the sun 

I shuddering 

That eye in vision is compelled to see 

England's assembled Senate unredeemed 
From subterraneous treasons darkling power 
Of that catastrophe accomplished sight 
Worse than the product of that dismal night 
When with the bounty of a thunder shower 
The blood of Huguenots through Paris streamed. 



100 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 



[37] 

XIV PART II 

undaunted soaring 

You who upsoaring like the early lark 
Announcing at day break to his drowsy mate 
You rather ran the dawn to antedate 
By striking out a solitary spark 
When all the world with midnight gloom was dark 
You whom the sword of unrelenting hate 
In vain had laboured to exterminate 
Cerberian mouths pursued with hideous bark 
But meagre [Pmaugre] such fell spite the sacred fire 
From Alpine heights and dens & savage woods 
Passed handed on with never ceasing care 
Through camps and courts and limitary floods 
Nor lacks this sea-girt Isle a welcome share 
Of the pure gift not suffered to expire 

See pages <33-> 38. 55. 



[38] 

XIV PART II 

They who gave earliest notice as the lark 

Springs from the ground the morn to gratulate 

Or rather rose the day to antedate 

By striking out a solitary spark 

When all the world with midnight gloom was dark 

(Yet) these (prompt) harbingers of good, whom bitter hate 

In vain hath laboured to exterminate 

Fell obloquy would brand with hideous mark 

*Dwellers with wolves she named them, for the pine 

And green oak are their covert; as the gloom 

Of night oft foils their enemies design, 

She calls them Riders on the flying broom 

Sorcerers whose frames and aspects have become 

One and the same through practices malign 

Seepages <33-> 37- 55 

* See the note on this sonnet for these six lines. 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 101 

[39] 

XXXIV PART I 

Much are they blamed 

I scorn them not who with a sovereign lever 

Acting upon the heart Imagination 

Uplifted Christendom from her natural station 

They sweep along (such host till now was never 

tear 

Arrayed in march) to rend from the Deceiver 
The precious tomb their haven of salvation. 

A meaner application 

But sooth this war was mixed by selfish passion 
With base allo[?y] which no skill may sever 
As a sharp pike set on a bucklers boss 
Makes an efficient portion of the mighty shield 

blend 

Powers of annoyance, Providence doth wield 
For this great purpose namely to defend 
Kingdoms and states whose hope is in the cross. 

See page 35. 



[40] 

VII PART I 

As when a storm is past the Birds regain 
Their cheerfulness and busily retrim 
Their nests or chant a gratulating hymn 

bespangled 

To the blue ether and the glistening plain 
So the survivors of that storm again 
Amid their reconstructed churches, kept 
The holy sacraments which long had slept 
And solemn ceremonials did ordain 
To celebrate their great deliverance 
Most feelingly instructed as some fear 
That persecution and the wrath extreme 

mild 

Of blindness under Heavens <high> countenance 
Even in their own despite, doth feed and cheer 
For all things are less dreadful than they seem. 



102 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

[41] 
ITINERARY SONNET CONTINENT 1820 

XIII 

Then when we see River 

When we behold an Alpine torrent throwing 
His giants body from a steep rocks brink 
Back in astonishment and fear we shrink 
But high and low a calmer look bestowing 

beside the torrent 

We see flowers (on flowers in clusters) growing 
Flowers that peep forth from many a cleft & chink 
And from the whirlwind of her anger drink 
Hues ever fresh while to their fellows blowing 
In safer regions nature cannot give 
Freshness and life and motions as of joy 

fearful brink 

Sucked from the perils self, nor doubt that God 
To whom these pines in signs of worship nod 
Their heads while storms are busy to destroy 

signs of worship 

These humbler (adorations) will receive 
To whom above the lofty pine trees nod 
Their heads while storms are busy to destroy 

[42] 

XXXVI PART II 

We looking calmly from a specular height 

Know that a righteous Providence 

The adverse combatants the struggle 

Alas for those who mingling in the fight 

Saw ranged upon the better side despite 

Rapacity and cruelty and lust 

Mid clouds enveloped of polemic dust 

Which showers of blood seemed rather to incite 

to allay 

Than tranquillize Anathemas are hurled 
From host to host, old thunders from the west 
Are boldly met by fulminations new 

the flag of is unfurled 

Who without war way pursue 

Standards are abjured are caught at & unfurled 
Friends strike at friends the flying shall pursue 
And victory sickening ignorant where to rest. 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 103 

[43] 

XXXVIII PART II 

Hail Virgin Queen more welcome than the star 
Of dawn to the traveller faint with toil 
Hail sovereign Lady whom a thankful Isle 
Shall bless respiring from that dismal war 
Stilled by thy voice. But quickly from afar 
The adversary makes a fierce recoil 
Tempests with which the mischief of the soil 
Dreadful alliance claims. Her royal car 
Meanwhile by prudence swayed glides safely on 
In silver purity from menaced taint 

Cynthia of the stormy night 
Emerging like the radiant queen of night 
For where she moves the stormy clouds are gone 
Disperse or 
Or tarrying under a divine constraint 

Reflect some portion of her glorious light. 

See page 44. 

[44] 

XXXVIII PART II 

Hail, Virgin Queen! oer many an envious bar 
Triumphant snatched from many a treacherous wile! 
All hail sage Lady whom a thankful Isle 
Hath blessed respiring from that dismal war 
Stilled by thy voice. But quickly from afar 
Defiance breathes with more malignant aim, 
And alien storms with home-bred ferments claim 
Portentous fellowship. Her silver car 

smoothly 

Meanwhile by prudence ruled glides safely on 
Unhurt by violence, from menaced taint 
Emerging, [? like] the radiant power of night 
For [? where] she moves the gloomy clouds anon 
Disperse, or under a divine constraint 
Reflect some portion of her glorious light. 

See page 43. 



104 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

[453 

XL PART II 

Holy and heavenly spirits that they were 
Spotless in life and eloquent as wise 
With what entire affection did they prize 
(That church and reverence her with filial care 
-(The newborn church labouring with filial care 
( Labouring incessantly with filial care 
To baffle all that might her strength impair 
That church, the unperverted Gospel's seat; 
In their afflictions a divine retreat; 
Source of their liveliest hope and tenderest prayer. 
The truth exploring with an equal mind 
In polity and discipline they sought 
Firmly between the two extremes to steer 

lot 

But theirs the wise mans ordinary <toil> 
To trace right courses for the stubborn blind 
And prophesy to ears that will not hear. 

[46] 
TRANSFERRED TO ITINERARY < SONNETS > 1833 

XLIII 

awe 

A weight of <woe> not easily to be borne 
Fell suddenly upon my spirit cast 
From the dread bosom of the unknown past 
When I beheld this sisterhood forlorn 
And Her sole standing amid yellow corn 
In fearless height preeminent and placed 
As if to overlook the circle vast. 

morn 

Speak giant mother, tell it to the <morn> 
While she dispels the cumbrous shade of night 

a 
Let the moon hear, emerging from <the> cloud 

resolved 

The truths disclosed the mystery unbound 
When how and wherefore rose this wondrous Round 
Forth shadowing some have deemed to mortal sight 
The inviolable God that tames the proud 

See page 47, 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 105 



[47] 

awe 
A weight of <woe> not easily to be borne 

(Hath sometimes fallen on my bosom cast 

Or to be shaken of is) 

And loth to be removed is sometimes cast 

Upon my bosom from the unknown past 

When I beheld that sisterhood forlorn 

With Her sole standing amid yellow corn 

In fearless height preeminent and placed 

As if to overlook the circle vast 

Speak giant mother to the dawning morn ! 

Let the moon hear emerging from <the> a cloud 

The truth disclosed to guide our steps aright 

Or be at least the mystery unbound 

When, how, and wherefore rose thy wondrous Round 

Forth-shadowing (some have deemed) to mortal sight 

The inviolable God that tames the proud 

See page 46. 



[48] 

IV PART I 

Yes ! whether earth received that cumbrous load 

For midnight pomp of sacrificial fire 

For social exercises of harp and lyre 

Or Rites prelusive to a crown bestowed 

This claims at least our reverence that to God 

Antient of days to thee eternal Sire 

Did Priest and Lawgiver and Bard aspire 

As to the one sole fount whence wisdom flowed 

Wisdom and Justice Tremblingly escaped 

As if with prescience of the coming storm 

That intimation when the stars were shaped 

Or perished utterly the primal truth 

Till man had fallen to mingle with the worm 

And heaven was filled with unavailing ruth 



106 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 



C49] 

XXXV PART III 

I thought of Luxury and greedy sway 
And pride deserving chastisement severe, 
But stillness, ruin, beauty, all things here 
Dispose to judgments temperate as we lay 
On our past selves in lifes declining day 
For as by discipline of time made wise 
We learn to tolerate the infirmities 
And faults of others, gently as he may 
Towards our own the mild Instructor deals 
Teaching us to forget them or forgive. 
Why then be curious here for hidden ill 
Perversely breaking charitable seals? 
The spot was holy once, is holy still 
Its spirit freely let me drink and live. 

<See page 50 > 



[50] 
XXXV PART II 

Here flame ward stretching his upbraided hand 
O God of mercy may no earthly seat 
Of judgment such presumptuous doom repeat 
Here for the final test did Cranmer stand 
Firm as the stake to which with iron band 
His frame was tied, firm from the naked feet 
To the bare head, the victory complete 
His shrouded body to the souls command 
Answering with more than Indian fortitude 
Through all her nerves with finer sense endued 
While him 

<With> flames enshroud A and black smoke embowered 
Till self reproach and parting aspiration 
Were with the heart that held them all devoured 
The spirit set free and crowned with blissful acclamation. 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 107 

, XLIII [XLIV] PART III 

KINGS COLL. CHAPEL. 

What awful perspective while from our sight 
Their portraitures the lateral windows hide 
Glimmers the corresponding stone work dyed 
With the soft chequerings of a sleepy light 
Martyr or king or sainted eremite 

are 

Whoe'er ye be that thus yourselves unseen 
Imbue your prison bars with solemn sheen 

on until ye fade 

Shine (till your lustre fades) with coming night 
But from the arms of silence list! oh list! 
The music bursteth into second life 
And every stone throughout the Pile is kissed 
By the delicious notes in mazy strife 
(The storm hath ceased the harmony is gone 
And now the sad sad heart is left alone) 
( Where < to > now the thrilling harmony, tis gone 
And the lost notes of lively rapture flown) 
(Of lively rapture or with softer flight 
Fondly relayed in mazes infinite) 
That thrills the heart and casts before the eye 
Of the devout a veil of ecstasy! 



.[52] 
MISCELLANEOUS PART IIII [III] 

VII 

Where holy ground begins unhallowed ends 
Is marked by no distinguishable line 
The turf unites the Pathways intertwine 
And wheresoe'er the stealing footstep tends 
Garden and that domain where Kindred Friends 

confound 

And neighbours rest together, here < confound > 
Their several features, mingled like the sound 
Of many waters, or as evening blends 
With shady night soft airs from shrub and flower 
Waft fragrant greetings to each silent grave 
And ever as those lofty poplars wave 
Their parting summits open out a sky 
Bright as the glimpses of eternity 
To saints accorded in their mortal hour. 



108 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

[53] 

XLI PART III 

The encircling ground in natural turf arrayed 

Is now by solemn consecration given 

To social interests and to favouring Heaven 

Hence forth where ragged Colts their gambols played 

And wild deer bounded through the forest glade 

Unchecked as erst by merry Outlaw driven 

Shall pious hymns resound at morn and even 

full soon the lonely sextons spade 
And soon (the sexton shall apply his spade) 

Shall wound 

Wounding the tender sod. Encincture small! 

But infinite its grasp of joy and woe 
Hopes fears in never resting ebb and flow 
The spousal trembling and the "dust to dust" 
The prayers the contrite struggle and the trust 
That to the Almighty Father looks through all. 



[54] 

XXXIV PART III 

to high 

From (high to) low doth dissolution climb 
And sinks from high to low along a scale 

awful 

Of things (by laws) whose concord shall not fail; 
A musical but melancholy chime 
Which they can hear who meddle not with crime 
Nor avarice nor over anxious care. 

Truth fades not, but the forms of thought 
(The pomps and vanities of earth) that bear 

The longest date shall melt like frosty rime 
That in the morning whitened hill and plain 
And is no more, drop like the tower sublime 
Of yesterday, which royally did wear 
Its crown of weeds, but could not even sustain 
Some casual shout that broke the silent air 
Or the unimaginable touch of time 

Truth wastes not 

In [?] Mrs. Wordsworth handwriting. 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 109 

XIV PART II 

Who but is pleased to note the birds of spring 
Twere monstrous to dislike the birds of spring 

And the green grass recovering on the lawn 

Monstrous it were to loathe the birds of spring 
Or the new moon or sparkling eye of dawn 
And flowers forth peeping on the dewy lawn 

Who scowls upon the sparkling eye of dawn 
Or crescent moon as on a hated thing 
Or give the sun a churlish welcoming 

loathe 

Yet Truth we hate through man the signs that bring 
Our visual expectation worthier far 

brightest 

Though of more virtue than the morning star 
That walks the sky her presence gives a sting 
To millions But heaven guards the sacred fire 
Which renovated thus, from savage wood [?s] 
Through courts through camps, oer limitary floods 
Nor lacked this sea-girt Isle a timely share 
Of the new flame not suffered to expire. 

See pages 37. 38. 



ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 



112 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 
PART i 

FROM THE INTRODUCTION OF CHRISTIANITY INTO BRITAIN TO 
THE CONSUMMATION OF THE PAPAL DOMINION 

Composed Published Page 

1 Introduction 1821 .... 1822 .... 120 

2 Conjectures 1821 .... 1822 .... 120 

3 Trepidation of the Druids 1821 .... 1822 .... 121 

4 Druidical Excommunication 1821 .... 1822 .... 121 

5 Uncertainty 1821 .... 1822 .... 122 

6 Persecution 1821 .... 1822 .... 122 

7 Recovery 1821 .... 1822 .... 123 

8 Temptations from Roman Refine- 

ments 1821 .... 1822 .... 123 

9 Dissensions 1821 .... 1822 .... 124 

10 Struggle of the Britons against the 

Barbarians 1821 .... 1822 .... 124 

1 1 Saxon Conquest 1821 .... 1822 .... 125 

12 Monastery of Old Bangor 1821 .... 1822 .... 125 

13 Casual Incitement 1821 .... 1822 .... 126 

14 Glad Tidings 1821 .... 1822 .... 126 

15 Paulinus 1821 .... 1822 .... 127 

16 Persuasion 1821 .... 1822 .... 127 

17 Conversion 1821 .... 1822 .... 128 

18 Apology 1821 .... 1822 .... 128 

19 Primitive Saxon Clergy 1821 .... 1822 .... 129 

20 Other Influences 1821 . . . .* 1822 .... 129 

21 Seclusion 1821 .... 1822 .... 130 

22 Continued 1821 .... 1822 .... 130 

23 Reproof 1821 .... 1822 .... 131 

24 Saxon Monasteries, and Lights and 

Shades of the Religion 1821 .... 1822 .... 131 

25 Missions and Travels 1821 .... 1822 .... 132 

26 Alfred * 1821 .... 1822 .... 132 

27 His Descendants 1821 .... 1822 .... 133 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 113 

Composed Published Page 

28 Influence Abused 1821 .... 1822 133 

29 Danish Conquests 1821 .... 1822 134 

30 Canute 1821 .... 1822 .... 134 

31 The Norman Conquest 1821 .... 1822 .... 135 

32 Coldly we spake. The Saxons, 

overpowered ?i836 .... 1837 .... 135 

33 The Council of Clermont 1821 .... 1822 .... 136 

34 Crusades 1821 .... 1822 .... 136 

35 Richard 1 1821 1822 137 

36 An Interdict 1821 .... 1822 .... 137 

37 Papal Abuses 1821 .... 1822 .... 138 

38 Scene in Venice 1821 .... 1822 .... 138 

39 Papal Dominion 1821 .... 1822 .... 139 

PART 2 

To THE CLOSE OF THE TROUBLES IN THE 
REIGN OF CHARLES I 

Composed Published Page 

1 How soon alas! did Man, created 

pure ? 1845 139 

2 From false assumption rose, and 

fondly hailed ?i842 1845 140 

3 Cistertian Monastery 1821 1822 140 

4 Deplorable his lot who tills the 

ground ? 1835 141 

5 Monks and Schoolmen 1821 .... 1822 .... 141 

6 Other Benefits 1821 1822 142 

7 Continued 1821 .... 1822 .... 142 

8 Crusaders 1821 1822 143 

9 As faith thus sanctified the war- 

rior's crest ?i842 .... 1845 M3 

10 Where long and deeply hath been 

fixed the root ? 1845 H4 

11 Transubstantiation 1821 .... 1822 .... 144 

12 The Vaudois ? 1835 J 45 

13 Praised be the Rivers, from their 

mountain springs ? .... 1835 T 45 

9 



114 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 



Composed 


Published Page 


14 


Waldenses 


1821 


1822 


.... 146 


15 


Archbishop Chicheley to Henry V. 


1821 .... 


1822 


.... 146 


16 


Wars of York and Lancaster 


1821 .... 


1822 


.... 147 


17 


Wicliffe 


1821 .... 


1822 


147 


18 


Corruptions of the Higher Clergy . 


1821 .... 


1822 


148 


19 


Abuse of Monastic Power 


1821 .... 


1822 


148 


20 


Monastic Voluptuousness ........ 


1821 


1822 


149 


21 


Dissolution of the Monasteries 


1821 


1822 


.... 149 


22 


The Same Subject 


1821 


1822 


.... 150 


23 


Continued 


1821 


1822 


.... 150 


24 


Saints 


1821 


1822 


.... 151 


25 


The Virgin 


1821 


1822 


.... 151 


26 


Apology 


1821 


1822 


.... 152 


27 


Imaginative Regrets 


1821 


1822 


152 


28 


Reflections 


1821 


1822 


.... 153 


29 


Translation of the Bible 


1821 


1822 


153 


30 


The Point at Issue 


? 


1827 


.... 154 


31 


Edward VI 


1821 


1822 


.... 154 


32 


Edward Signing the Warrant for 










the Execution of Joan of Kent. 


1821 


1822 


.. 155 


33 


Revival of Popery 


p 


1827 


155 


34 


Latimer and Ridley 


? 


1827 


.... I 5 6 


35 


Cranmer 


1821 .... 


1822 


.... I 5 6 


36 


General View of the Troubles of 










the Reformation 


1821 .... 


1822 


.... 157 


37 


English Reformers in Exile 


1821 


1822 


.... 157 


38 


Elizabeth 


1821 


1822 


.... I 5 8 


39 


Eminent Reformers 


1821 


1822 


.... I 5 8 


40 


The Same 


1821 


1822 


.... 159 


4i 


Distractions 


1821 


1822 


.... 159 


42 


Gunpowder Plot 


1821 


1822 


160 


43 


Illustration: The Jung-Frau and 










the Fall of the Rhine near 










Schaffhausen 


1821 .... 


1822 


160 


44 


Troubles of Charles the First 


1821 .... 


1822 


.... 161 


45 


Laud 


1821 .... 


1822 


.... 161 


46 


Afflictions of England 


1821 .... 


1822 


.... 162 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 115 

PART 3 
FROM THE RESTORATION TO THE PRESENT TIMES 

Composed Published Page 

1 I saw the figure of a lovely Maid . 1821 .... 1822 162 

2 Patriotic Sympathies 1821 .... 1822 163 

3 Charles the Second 1821 .... 1822 .... 163 

4 Latitudinarianism 1821 .... 1822 .... 164 

5 Walton's Book of Lives 1821 .... 1822 164 

6 Clerical Integrity 1821 .... 1822 .... 165 

7 Persecution of the Scottish Cove- 

nanters ? .... 1827 .... 165 

8 Acquittal of the Bishops 1821 1822 166 

9 William the Third 1821 .... 1822 .... 166 

10 Obligations of Civil to Religious 

Liberty 1821 .... 1822 .... 167 

1 1 Sacheverel ? .... 1827 167 

12 Down a swift Stream, thus far, a 

bold design 1821 .... I822 1 .... 168 

Aspects of Christianity in America 

13 I. The Pilgrim Fathers 1842 1842 168 

14 II. Continued 1842 .... 1842 .... 169 

15 III. Concluded: American Epis- 

copacy 1842 .... 1842 .... 169 

1 6 Bishops and Priests, blessed are ye, 

if deep 1842^32 .... 1845 .... 170 

17 Places of Worship 1821 .... 1822 .... 170 

18 Pastoral Character 1821 .... 1822 .... 171 

19 The Liturgy 1821 .... 1822 .... 171 

20 Baptism ? .... 1827 .... 172 

21 Sponsors ? 3 .... 1832 .... 172 

22 Catechising 1821 .... 1822 .... 173 

23 Confirmation ? .... 1827 .... 173 

24 Confirmation Continued ? .... 1827 .... 174 

25 Sacrament ? .... 1827 .... 174 

1 Mem. Tour Cont. 1820; first published with Eccl. Sketches in 1827. 

z Between September 4, 1842, and March 27, 1843. 
3 Knight (P. W., Eversley ed., 7.91): 'This sonnet was sent by Words- 
worth in holograph MS. to Orton Hall . . . dated Dec. 7, 1827.' 



116 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

Composed Published Page 

26 The Marriage Ceremony I842 1 . . . . 1845 175 

27 Thanksgiving after Childbirth .... I842 1 . . . . 1845 1 75 

28 Visitation of the Sick I842 1 . . . . 1845 .... 176 

29 The Commination Service 1842-32 .... 1845 176 

30 Forms of Prayer at Sea 1842-32 .... 1845 .... 177 

31 Funeral Service I842 1 . . . . 1845 .... 177 

32 Rural Ceremony 1821 .... 1822 .... 178 

33 Regrets 1821 .... 1822 .... 178 

34 Mutability 1821 .... 1822 .... 179 

35 Old Abbeys 1821 .... 1822 .... 179 

36 Emigrant French Clergy ? .... 1827 .... 180 

37 Congratulation 1821 .... 1822 .... 180 

38 New Churches 1821 .... 1822 .... 181 

39 Church to be Erected 1821 .... 1822 .... 181 

40 Continued 1821 .... 1822 .... 182 

41 New Church-yard 1821 .... 1822 .... 182 

42 Cathedrals, &c 1821 1822 183 

43 Inside of King's College Chapel, 

Cambridge 1821 .... 1822 .... 183 

44 The Same 1820-1 .... 1822 .... 184 

45 Continued 1821 .... 1822 .... 184 

46 Ejaculation 1821 .... 1822 .... 185 

47 Conclusion 1821 .... 1822 .... 185 

1 A few days before September 4. 

2 Between September 4, 1842, and March 27, 1843. 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 117 



[ADVERTISEMENT OF 1822] 

During the month of December, 1820, I accompanied a much- 
loved 1 and honoured Friend in a walk through different parts of 
his Estate, with a view to fix upon the Site of a New Church which 
he intended to erect. It was one of the most beautiful mornings 
of a mild season our feelings were in harmony with the cherishing 
influences of the scene; and such being our purpose, we were 
naturally led to look back upon past events with wonder and 
gratitude, and on the future with hope. Not long afterwards, some 
of the Sonnets which will be found towards the close of this Series 
were produced as a private memorial of that morning's occupation. 

The Catholic Question, which was agitated in Parliament about 
that time, kept my thoughts in the same course; and it struck me 
that certain points in the Ecclesiastical History of our Country 
might advantageously be presented to view in Verse. 2 Accordingly, 
I took up the subject, and what I now offer to the Reader was 
the result. 

When this work was far advanced, I was agreeably surprised to 
find that my Friend, Mr. Southey, was engaged 3 with similar 
views in writing a concise History of the Church in England. If 
our Productions, thus unintentionally coinciding, shall be found to 
illustrate each other, it will prove a high gratification to me, which 

I am sure my Friend will participate. 

W. WORDSWORTH, 
RYDAL MOUNT, 
January 24, 1822. 

1 In the text of 1850, ' much-beloved.' 

2 Cf. Fenwick note, 1843: 'My purpose in writing this series was, as 
much as possible, to confine my view to the introduction, progress, and 
operation of the Church in England, both previous and subsequent to 
the Reformation.' 

3 In the text of 1850, ' had been engaged.' 



118 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 



[NOTE OF 1827] 

For the convenience of passing from one point of the subject to 
another without shocks of abruptness, this work has taken the 
shape of a series of Sonnets; but the Reader, it is hoped, 1 will find 
that the pictures are often so closely connected as to have the 
effect of a poem 2 in a form of stanza to which there is no 
objection but one that bears upon the Poet only its difficulty. 

1 In the text of 1850, 'it is to be hoped.' 

2 In the text of 1850, 'as to have jointly the effect of passages of a 
poem.' 



TEXT OF 1850 



A verse may catch a wandering Soul, that flies 
Profounder Tracts, and by a blest surprise 
Convert delight into a Sacrifice. 

[Adapted from George Herbert's The Temple: The 
Church Porch, stanza i.] 



120 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

PART i 

FROM THE INTRODUCTION OF CHRISTIANITY INTO BRITAIN TO 
THE CONSUMMATION OF THE PAPAL DOMINION 

i.i 

INTRODUCTION 

I, WHO accompanied with faithful pace 

Cerulean Duddon from its cloud-fed spring, 

And loved with spirit ruled by his to sing 

Of mountain-quiet and boon nature's grace; 

I, who essayed the nobler Stream to trace 5 

Of Liberty, and smote the plausive string 

Till the checked torrent, proudly triumphing, 

Won for herself a lasting resting-place; 

Now seek upon the heights of Time the source 

Of a HOLY RIVER, on whose banks are found 10 

Sweet pastoral flowers, and laurels that have crowned 

Full oft the unworthy brow of lawless force; 

And, for delight of him who tracks its course, 

Immortal amaranth and palms abound. 

1.2 

CONJECTURES 

IF there be prophets on whose spirits rest 

Past things, revealed like future, they can tell 

What Powers, presiding o'er the sacred well 

Of Christian Faith, this savage Island blessed 

With its first bounty. Wandering through the west, 5 

Did holy Paul a while in Britain dwell, 

And call the Fountain forth by miracle, 

And with dread signs the nascent Stream invest? 

Or He, whose bonds dropped off, whose prison doors 

Flew open, by an Angel's voice unbarred? 10 

Or some of humbler name, to these wild shores 

Storm-driven; who, having seen the cup of woe 

Pass from their Master, sojourned here to guard 

The precious Current they had taught to flow? 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 121 



TREPIDATION OF THE DRUIDS 

SCREAMS round the Arch-druid's brow the sea-mew white 

As Menai's foam; and toward the mystic ring 

Where Augurs stand, the Future questioning, 

Slowly the cormorant aims her heavy flight, 

Portending ruin to each baleful rite, 5 

That, in the lapse of ages, hath crept o'er 

Diluvian truths, and patriarchal lore. 

Haughty the Bard: can these meek doctrines blight 

His transports? wither his heroic strains? 

But all shall be fulfilled; the Julian spear 10 

A way first opened; and, with Roman chains, 

The tidings come of Jesus crucified; 

They come they spread the weak, the suffering, hear; 

Receive the faith, and in the hope abide. 



1.4 

DRUIDICAL EXCOMMUNICATION 

MERCY and Love have met thee on thy road, 

Thou wretched Outcast, from the gift of fire 

And food cut off by sacerdotal ire, 

From every sympathy that Man bestowed! 

Yet shall it claim our reverence, that to God, 5 

Ancient of days! that to the eternal Sire, 

These jealous Ministers of law aspire, 

As to the one sole fount whence wisdom flowed, 

Justice, and order. Tremblingly escaped, 

As if with prescience of the coming storm, 10 

That intimation when the stars were shaped; 

And still, 'mid yon thick woods, the primal truth 

Glimmers through many a superstitious form 

That fills the Soul with unavailing ruth. 



122 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 



1-5 

UNCERTAINTY 

DARKNESS surrounds us; seeking, we are lost 

On Snowdon's wilds, amid Brigantian coves, 

Or where the solitary shepherd roves 

Along the plain of Sarum, by the ghost 

Of Time and shadows of Tradition, crost; 5 

And where the boatman of the Western Isles 

Slackens his course to mark those holy piles 

Which yet survive on bleak lona's coast. 

Nor these, nor monuments of eldest name, 

Nor Taliesin's unforgotten lays, 10 

Nor characters of Greek or Roman fame, 

To an unquestionable Source have led; 

Enough if eyes, that sought the fountain-head 

In vain, upon the growing Rill may gaze. 



1.6 

PERSECUTION 

LAMENT! for Diocletian's fiery sword 

Works busy as the lightning; but instinct 

With malice ne'er to deadliest weapon linked, 

Which God's ethereal storehouses afford: 

Against the Followers of the incarnate Lord 5 

It rages; some are smitten in the field 

Some pierced to the heart through the ineffectual shield 

Of sacred home; with pomp are others gored 

And dreadful respite. Thus was Alban tried, 

England's first Martyr, whom no threats could shake; 10 

Self-offered victim, for his friend he died, 

And for the faith; nor shall his name forsake 

That Hill, whose flowery platform seems to rise 

By Nature decked for holiest sacrifice. 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 123 

1-7 

RECOVERY 

As, when a storm hath ceased, the birds regain 

Their cheerfulness, and busily retrim 

Their nests, or chant a gratulating hymn 

To the blue ether and bespangled plain; 

Even so, in many a re-constructed fane, 5 

Have the survivors of this Storm renewed 

Their holy rites with vocal gratitude: 

And solemn ceremonials they ordain 

To celebrate their great deliverance; 

Most feelingly instructed 'mid their fear 10 

That persecution, blind with rage extreme, 

May not the less, through Heaven's mild countenance, 

Even in her own despite, both feed and cheer; 

For all things are less dreadful than they seem. 



TEMPTATIONS FROM ROMAN REFINEMENTS 

WATCH, and be firm! for, soul-subduing vice, 

Heart-killing luxury, on your steps await. 

Fair houses, baths, and banquets delicate, 

And temples flashing, bright as polar ice, 

Their radiance through the woods may yet suffice 5 

To sap your hardy virtue, and abate 

Your love of Him upon whose forehead sate 

The crown of thorns; whose life-blood flowed, the price 

Of your redemption. Shun the insidious arts 

That Rome provides, less dreading from her frown 10 

Than from her wily praise, her peaceful gown, 

Language, and letters; these, though fondly viewed 

As humanising graces, are but parts 

And instruments of deadliest servitude! 



124 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 



1.9 

DISSENSIONS 

THAT heresies should strike (if truth be scanned 

Presumptuously) their roots both wide and deep, 

Is natural as dreams to feverish sleep. 

Lo ! Discord at the altar dares to stand 

Uplifting toward high Heaven her fiery brand, 5 

A cherished Priestess of the new-baptized ! 

But chastisement shall follow peace despised. 

The Pictish cloud darkens the enervate land 

By Rome abandoned; vain are suppliant cries, 

And prayers that would undo her forced farewell; 10 

For she returns not. Awed by her own knell, 

She casts the Britons upon strange Allies, 

Soon to become more dreaded enemies 

Than heartless misery called them to repel. 



I.IO 
STRUGGLE OF THE BRITONS AGAINST THE BARBARIANS 

RISE! they have risen: of brave Aneurin ask 

How they have scourged old foes, perfidious friends: 

The Spirit of Caractacus descends 

Upon the Patriots, animates their task; 

Amazement runs before the towering casque 5 

Of Arthur, bearing through the stormy field 

The virgin sculptured on his Christian shield : 

Stretched in the sunny light of victory bask 

The Host that followed Urien as he strode 

O'er heaps of slain; from Cambrian wood and moss 10 

Druids descend, auxiliars of the Cross; 

Bards, nursed on blue Plinlimmon's still abode, 

Rush on the fight, to harps preferring swords, 

And everlasting deeds to burning words! 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 125 



I. ii 

SAXON CONQUEST 

NOR wants the cause the panic-striking aid 

Of hallelujahs tost from hill to hill 

For instant victory. But Heaven's high will 

Permits a second and a darker shade 

Of Pagan night. Afflicted and dismayed, 5 

The Relics of the sword flee to the mountains: 

O wretched Land! whose tears have flowed like fountains; 

Whose arts and honours in the dust are laid 

By men yet scarcely conscious of a care 

For other monuments than those of Earth; 10 

Who, as the fields and woods have given them birth, 

Will build their savage fortunes only there; 

Content, if foss, and barrow, and the girth 

Of long-drawn rampart, witness what they were. 



1. 12 
MONASTERY OF OLD BANGOR 

THE oppression of the tumult wrath and scorn 

The tribulation and the gleaming blades 

Such is the impetuous spirit that pervades 

The song of Taliesin; Ours shall mourn 

The unarmed Host who by their prayers would turn 5 

The sword from Bangor's walls, and guard the store 

Of Aboriginal and Roman lore, 

And Christian monuments, that now must burn 

To senseless ashes. Mark! how all things swerve 

From their known course, or vanish like a dream; 10 

Another language spreads from coast to coast; 

Only perchance some melancholy Stream 

And some indignant Hills old names preserve, 

When laws, and creeds, and people all are lost! 



126 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 



CASUAL INCITEMENT 

A BRIGHT-HAIRED company of youthful slaves, 

Beautiful strangers, stand within the pale 

Of a sad market, ranged for public sale, 

Where Tiber's stream the immortal City laves: 

ANGLI by name; and not an ANGEL waves 5 

His wing who could seem lovelier to man's eye 

Than they appear to holy Gregory; 

Who, having learnt that name, salvation craves 

For Them, and for their Land. The earnest Sire, 

His questions urging, feels, in slender ties 10 

Of chiming sound, commanding sympathies; 

DE-IRIANS he would save them from God's IRE; 

Subjects of Saxon ^ELLA they shall sing 

Glad HALLE-lujahs to the eternal King! 



1.14 

GLAD TIDINGS 

FOR ever hallowed be this morning fair, 

Blest be the unconscious shore on which ye tread, 

And blest the silver Cross, which ye, instead 

Of martial banner, in procession bear; 

The Cross preceding Him who floats in air, 5 

The pictured Saviour! By Augustin led, 

They come and onward travel without dread, 

Chanting in barbarous ears a tuneful prayer 

Sung for themselves, and those whom they would free!' 

Rich conquest waits them: the tempestuous sea 10 

Of Ignorance, that ran so rough and high 

And heeded not the voice of clashing swords, 

These good men humble by a few bare words, 

And calm with fear of God's divinity. 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 127 



I.I5 

PAULINUS 

BUT, to remote Northumbria's royal Hall, 

Where thoughtful Edwin, tutored in the school 

Of sorrow, still maintains a heathen rule, 

Who comes with functions apostolical? 

Mark him, of shoulders curved, and stature tall, 5 

Black hair, and vivid eye, and meagre cheek, 

His prominent feature like an eagle's beak; 

A Man whose aspect doth at once appal 

And strike with reverence. The Monarch leans 

Toward the pure truths this Delegate propounds, 10 

Repeatedly his own deep mind he sounds 

With careful hesitation, then convenes 

A synod of his Councillors: give ear, 

And what a pensive Sage doth utter, hear! 



1.16 

PERSUASION 

'MAN'S life is like a Sparrow, mighty King! 

That while at banquet with your Chiefs you sit 

Housed near a blazing fire is seen to flit 

Safe from the wintry tempest. Fluttering, 

Here did it enter; there, on hasty wing, 5 

Flies out, and passes on from cold to cold; 

But whence it came we know not, nor behold 

Whither it goes. Even such, that transient Thing, 

The human Soul; not utterly unknown 

While in the Body lodged, her warm abode; 10 

But from what world She came, what woe or weal 

On her departure waits, no tongue hath shown; 

This mystery if the Stranger can reveal, 

His be a welcome cordially bestowed ! ' 



128 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 



1.17 

CONVERSION 

PROMPT transformation works the novel Lore; 

The Council closed, the Priest in full career 

Rides forth, an armed man, and hurls a spear 

To desecrate the Fane which heretofore 

He served in folly. Woden falls, and Thor 5 

Is overturned; the mace, in battle heaved 

(So might they dream) till victory was achieved, 

Drops, and the God himself is seen no more. 

Temple and Altar sink, to hide their shame 

Amid oblivious weeds. '0 come to me, 10 

Ye heavy laden! ' such the inviting voice 

Heard near fresh streams; and thousands, who rejoice 

In the new Rite the pledge of sanctity, 

Shall, by regenerate life, the promise claim. 



1.18 

APOLOGY 

NOR scorn the aid which Fancy oft doth lend 

The Soul's eternal interests to promote: 

Death, darkness, danger, are our natural lot; 

And evil Spirits may our walk attend 

For aught the wisest know or comprehend; 5 

Then be good Spirits free to breathe a note 

Of elevation; let their odours float 

Around these Converts; and their glories blend, 

The midnight stars outshining, or the blaze 

Of the noon-day. Nor doubt that golden cords 10 

Of good works, mingling with the visions, raise 

The Soul to purer worlds: and who the line 

Shall draw, the limits of the power define, 

That even imperfect faith to man affords? 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 129 

1.19 

PRIMITIVE SAXON CLERGY 

How beautiful your presence, how benign, . 

Servants of God! who not a thought will share 

With the vain world; who, outwardly as bare 

As winter trees, yield no fallacious sign 

That the firm soul is clothed with fruit divine ! 5 

Such Priest, when service worthy of his care 

Has called him forth to breathe the common air, 

Might seem a saintly Image from its shrine 

Descended: happy are the eyes that meet 

The Apparition; evil thoughts are stayed 10 

At his approach, and low-bowed necks entreat 

A benediction from his voice or hand; 

Whence grace, through which the heart can understand, 

And vows, that bind the will, in silence made. 



1.20 

OTHER INFLUENCES 

AH, when the Body, round which in love we clung, 

Is chilled by death, does mutual service fail? 

Is tender pity then of no avail? 

Are intercessions of the fervent tongue 

A waste of hope? From this sad source have sprung 5 

Rites that console the Spirit, under grief 

Which ill can brook more rational relief: 

Hence, prayers are shaped amiss, and dirges sung 

For Souls whose doom is fixed ! The way is smooth 

For Power that travels with the human heart: 10 

Confession ministers the pang to soothe 

In him who at the ghost of guilt doth start. 

Ye holy Men, so earnest in your care, 

Of your own mighty instruments beware! 



10 



130 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

1. 2 1 

SECLUSION 

LANCE, shield, and sword relinquished at his side 

A bead-roll, in his hand a clasped book, 

Or staff more harmless than a shepherd's crook, 

The war-worn Chieftain quits the world to hide 

His thin autumnal locks where Monks abide 5 

In cloistered privacy. But not to dwell 

In soft repose he comes. Within his cell, 

Round the decaying trunk of human pride, 

At morn, and eve, and midnight's silent hour, 

Do penitential cogitations cling; 10 

Like ivy, round some ancient elm, they twine 

In grisly folds and strictures serpentine; 

Yet, while they strangle, a fair growth they bring, 

For recompense their own perennial bower. 



1.22 

CONTINUED 

METHINKS that to some vacant hermitage 

My feet would rather turn to some dry nook 

Scooped out of living rock, and near a brook 

Hurled down a mountain-cove from stage to stage, 

Yet tempering, for my sight, its bustling rag*e 5 

In the soft heaven of a translucent pool; 

Thence creeping under sylvan arches cool, 

Fit haunt of shapes whose glorious equipage 

Would elevate my dreams. A beechen bowl, 

A maple dish, my furniture should be; 10 

Crisp, yellow leaves my bed; the hooting owl 

My night-watch: nor should e'er the crested fowl 

From thorp or vill his matins sound for me, 

Tired of the world and all its industry. 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 131 

1.23 

REPROOF 

BUT what if One, through grove or flowery mead, 

Indulging thus at will the creeping feet 

Of a voluptuous indolence, should meet 

Thy hovering Shade, O venerable Bede! 

The saint, the scholar, from a circle freed 5 

Of toil stupendous, in a hallowed seat 

Of learning, where thou heard'st the billows beat 

On a wild coast, rough monitors to feed 

Perpetual industry. Sublime Recluse! 

The recreant soul, that dares to shun the debt 10 

Imposed on human kind, must first forget 

Thy diligence, thy unrelaxing use 

Of a long life; and, in the hour of death, 

The last dear service of thy passing breath! 



1.24 

SAXON MONASTERIES, AND LIGHTS AND 
SHADES OF THE RELIGION 

BY such examples moved to unbought pains, 

The people work like congregated bees; 

Eager to build the quiet Fortresses 

Where Piety, as they believe, obtains 

From Heaven a general blessing; timely rains 5 

Or needful sunshine; prosperous enterprise, 

Justice and peace: bold faith! yet also rise 

The sacred Structures for less doubtful gairis. 

The Sensual think with reverence of the palms 

Which the chaste Votaries seek, beyond the grave; 10 

If penance be redeemable, thence alms 

Flow to the poor, and freedom to the slave; 

And if full oft the Sanctuary save 

Lives black with guilt, ferocity it calms. 



132 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 



1.25 

MISSIONS AND TRAVELS 

NOT sedentary all: there are who roam 

To scatter seeds of life on barbarous shores; 

Or quit with zealous step their knee-worn floors 

To seek the general mart of Christendom; 

Whence they, like richly-laden merchants, come 5 

To their beloved cells: or shall we say 

That, like the Red-cross Knight, they urge their way, 

To lead in memorable triumph home 

Truth, their immortal Una? Babylon, 

Learned and wise, hath perished utterly, 10 

Nor leaves her Speech one word to aid the sigh 

That would lament her; Memphis, Tyre, are gone 

With all their Arts, but classic lore glides on 

By these Religious saved for all posterity. 



1.26 

ALFRED 

BEHOLD a pupil of the monkish gown, 

The pious ALFRED, King to Justice dear! 

Lord of the harp and liberating spear; 

Mirror of Princes! Indigent Renown 

Might range the starry ether for a crown 5 

Equal to his deserts, who, like the year, 

Pours forth his bounty, like the day doth cheer, 

And awes like night with mercy-tempered frown. 

Ease from this noble miser of his time 

No moment steals; pain narrows not his cares. 10 

Though small his kingdom as a spark or gem, 

Of Alfred boasts remote Jerusalem, 

And Christian India, through her wide-spread clime, 

In sacred converse gifts with Alfred shares. 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 133 



1.27 

HIS DESCENDANTS 

WHEN thy great soul was freed from mortal chains, 

Darling of England! many a bitter shower 

Fell on thy tomb; but emulative power 

Flowed in thy line through undegenerate veins. 

The Race of Alfred covet glorious pains 5 

When dangers threaten, dangers ever new! 

Black tempests bursting, blacker still in view! 

But manly sovereignty its hold retains; 

The root sincere, the branches bold to strive 

With the fierce tempest, while, within the round 10 

Of their protection, gentle virtues thrive; 

As oft, 'mid some green plot of open ground, 

Wide as the oak extends its dewy gloom, 

The fostered hyacinths spread their purple bloom. 



1.28 

INFLUENCE ABUSED 

URGED by Ambition, who with subtlest skill 

Changes her means, the Enthusiast as a dupe 

Shall soar, and as a hypocrite can stoop, 

And turn the instruments of good to ill, 

Moulding the credulous people to his will. 5 

Such DUNSTAN: from its Benedictine coop 

Issues the master Mind, at whose fell swoop 

The chaste affections tremble to fulfil 

Their purposes. Behold, pre-signified, 

The Might of spiritual sway! his thoughts, his dreams, 10 

Do in the supernatural world abide: 

So vaunt a throng of Followers, filled with pride 

In what they see of virtues pushed to extremes, 

And sorceries of talent misapplied. 



134 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 



1.29 

DANISH CONQUESTS 

WOE to the Crown that doth the Cowl obey! 

Dissension, checking arms that would restrain 

The incessant Rovers of the northern main, 

Helps to restore and spread a Pagan sway: 

But Gospel-truth is potent to allay 5 

Fierceness and rage; and soon the cruel Dane 

Feels, through the influence of her gentle reign, 

His native superstitions melt away. 

Thus, often, when thick gloom the east o'ershrouds, 

The full-orbed Moon, slow-climbing, doth appear 10 

Silently to consume the heavy clouds; 

How no one can resolve; but every eye 

Around her sees, while air is hushed, a clear 

And widening circuit of ethereal sky. 



1.30 

CANUTE 

A PLEASANT music floats along the Mere, 

From Monks in Ely chanting service high, 

While-as Canute the King is rowing by: 

'My Oarsmen,' quoth the mighty King, 'draw near, 

That we the sweet song of the Monks may hear!' 5 

He listens (all past conquests and all schemes 

Of future vanishing like empty dreams) 

Heart-touched, and haply not without a tear. 

The Royal Minstrel, ere the choir is still, 

While his free Barge skims the smooth flood along, 10 

Gives to that rapture an accordant Rhyme. 

O suffering Earth! be thankful; sternest clime 

And rudest age are subject to the thrill 

Of heaven-descended Piety and Song. 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 135 



THE NORMAN CONQUEST 

THE woman-hearted Confessor prepares 

The evanescence of the Saxon line. 

Hark! 'tis the tolling Curfew! the stars shine; 

But of the lights that cherish household cares 

And festive gladness, burns not one that dares 5 

To twinkle after that dull stroke of thine, 

Emblem and instrument, from Thames to Tyne, 

Of force that daunts, and cunning that ensnares! 

Yet as the terrors of the lordly bell, 

That quench, from hut to palace, lamps and fires, 10 

Touch not the tapers of the sacred quires; 

Even so a thraldom, studious to expel 

Old laws, and ancient customs to derange, 

To Creed or Ritual brings no fatal change. 



1.32 

COLDLY we spake. The Saxons, overpowered 

By wrong triumphant through its own excess, 

From fields laid waste, from house and home devoured 

By flames, look up to heaven and crave redress 

From God's eternal justice. Pitiless 5 

Though men be, there are angels that can feel 

For wounds that death alone has power to heal, 

For penitent guilt, and innocent distress. 

And has a Champion risen in arms to try 

His Country '.s virtue, fought, and breathes no more; 10 

Him in their hearts the people canonize; 

And far above the mine's most precious ore 

The least small pittance of bare mould they prize 

Scooped from the sacred earth where his dear relics lie. 



136 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 



1-33 

THE COUNCIL OF CLERMONT 

'AND shall,' the Pontiff asks, 'profaneness flow 

From Nazareth source of Christian piety, 

From Bethlehem, from the Mounts of Agony 

And glorified Ascension? Warriors, go, 

With prayers and blessings we your path will sow; 5 

Like Moses hold our hands erect, till ye 

Have chased far off by righteous victory 

These sons of Amalek, or laid them low!' 

'Goo WILLETH IT,' the whole assembly cry; 

Shout which the enraptured multitude astounds! 10 

The Council-roof and Clermont's towers reply; 

'God willeth it,' from hill to hill rebounds, 

And, in awe-stricken Countries far and nigh, 

Through 'Nature's hollow arch' that voice resounds. 



1-34 

CRUSADES 

THE turbaned Race are poured in thickening swarms 

Along the west; though driven from Aquitaine, 

The Crescent glitters on the towers of Spain; 

And soft Italia feels renewed alarms; 

The scimitar, that yields not to the charms 75 

Of ease, the narrow Bosphorus will disdain; 

Nor long (that crossed) would Grecian hills detain 

Their tents, and check the current of their arms. 

Then blame not those who, by the mightiest lever 

Known to the moral world, Imagination, 10 

Upheave, so seems it, from her natural station 

All Christendom : they sweep along (was never 

So huge a host!) to tear from the Unbeliever 

The precious Tomb, their haven of salvation. 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 137 



1-35 

RICHARD I 

REDOUBTED King, of courage leonine, 

I mark thee, Richard ! urgent to equip 

Thy warlike person with the staff and scrip; 

I watch thee sailing o'er the midland brine; 

In conquered Cyprus see thy Bride decline 5 

Her blushing cheek, love-vows upon her lip, 

And see love-emblems streaming from thy ship, 

As thence she holds her way to Palestine. 

My Song, a fearless homager, would attend 

Thy thundering battle-axe as it cleaves the press 10 

Of war, but duty summons her away 

To tell how, rinding in the rash distress 

Of those Enthusiasts a subservient friend, 

To giddier heights hath clomb the Papal sway. 



1.36 

AN INTERDICT 

REALMS quake by turns: proud Arbitress of grace, 

The Church, by mandate shadowing forth the power 

She arrogates o'er heaven's eternal door, 

Closes the gates of every sacred place. 

Straight from the sun and tainted air's embrace 5 

All sacred things are covered: cheerful morn 

Grows sad as night no seemly garb is worn, 

Nor is a face allowed to meet a face 

With natural smiles of greeting. Bells are dumb; 

Ditches are graves funereal rites denied; 10 

And in the church-yard he must take his bride 

Who dares be wedded! Fancies thickly come 

Into the pensive heart ill fortified, 

And comfortless despairs the soul benumb. 



138 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 



1-37 

PAPAL ABUSES 

As with the Stream our voyage we pursue, 

The gross materials of this world present 

A marvellous study of wild accident; 

Uncouth proximities of old and new; 

And bold transfigurations, more untrue 5 

(As might be deemed) to disciplined intent 

Than aught the sky's fantastic element, 

When most fantastic, offers to the view. 

Saw we not Henry scourged at Becket's Shrine? 

Lo! John self-stripped of his insignia: crown, 10 

Sceptre and mantle, sword and ring, laid down 

At a proud Legate's feet! The spears that line 

Baronial halls, the opprobrious insult feel; 

And angry Ocean roars a vain appeal. 



1.38 

SCENE IN VENICE 

BLACK Demons hovering o'er his mitred head, 

To Caesar's Successor the Pontiff spake; 

'Ere I absolve thee, stoop! that on thy neck 

Levelled with earth this foot of mine may tread.' 

Then he, who to the altar had been led, 5 

He, whose strong arm the Orient could not check, 

He, who had held the Soldan at his beck, 

Stooped, of all glory disinherited, 

And even the common dignity of man! 

Amazement strikes the crowd: while many turn 10 

Their eyes away in sorrow, others burn 

With scorn, invoking a vindictive ban 

From outraged Nature; but the sense of most 

In abject sympathy with power is lost. 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 139 

1-39 

PAPAL DOMINION 

UNLESS to Peter's Chair the viewless wind 

Must come and ask permission when to blow, 

What further empire would it have? for now 

A ghostly Domination, unconfined 

As that by dreaming Bards to Love assigned, 5 

Sits there in sober truth to raise the low, 

Perplex the wise, the strong to overthrow; 

Through earth and heaven to bind and to unbind! 

Resist the thunder quails thee! crouch rebuff 

Shall be thy recompense! from land to land 10 

The ancient thrones of Christendom are stuff 

For occupation of a magic wand, 

And 'tis the Pope that wields it: whether rough 

Or smooth his front, our world is in his hand! 

PART 2 

To THE CLOSE OF THE TROUBLES IN THE 
REIGN OF CHARLES I 

2.1 

How soon alas! did Man, created pure 

By Angels guarded, deviate from the line 

Prescribed to duty: woeful forfeiture 

He made by wilful breach of law divine. 

With like perverseness did the Church abj'ure 5 

Obedience to her Lord, and haste to twine, 

'Mid Heaven-born flowers that shall for aye endure, 

Weeds on whose front the world had fixed her sign. 

O Man, if with thy trials thus it fares, 

If good can smooth the way to evil choice, 10 

From all rash censure be the mind kept free; 

He only judges right who weighs, compares, 

And, in the sternest sentence which his voice 

Pronounces, ne'er abandons Charity. 



140 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 



2.2 

FROM false assumption rose, and fondly hailed 

By superstition, spread the Papal power; 

Yet do not deem the Autocracy prevailed 

Thus only, even in error's darkest hour. 

She daunts, forth-thundering from her spiritual tower 5 

Brute rapine, or with gentle lure she tames. 

Justice and Peace through Her uphold their claims; 

And Chastity finds many a sheltering bower. 

Realm there is none that if controlled or swayed 

By her commands partakes not, in degree, 10 

Of good, o'er manners arts and arms, diffused: 

Yes, to thy domination, Roman See, 

Though miserably, oft monstrously, abused 

By blind ambition, be this tribute paid. 



2-3 

CISTERTIAN MONASTERY 

' HERE Man more purely lives, less oft doth fall, 

More promptly rises, walks with stricter heed, 

More safely rests, dies happier, is freed 

Earlier from cleansing fires, and gains withal 

A brighter crown. 1 On yon Cistertian wall 5 

That confident assurance may be read; 

And, to like shelter, from the world have fled 

Increasing multitudes. The potent call 

Doubtless shall cheat full oft the heart's desires; 

Yet, while the rugged Age on pliant knee 10 

Vows to rapt Fancy humble fealty, 

A gentler life spreads round the holy spires; 

Where'er they rise, the sylvan waste retires, 

And aery harvests crown the fertile lea. 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 141 



24 

DEPLORABLE his lot who tills the ground, 

His whole life long tills it, with heartless toil 

Of villain-service, passing with the soil 

To each new Master, like a steer or hound, 

Or like a rooted tree, or stone earth-bound ; 5 

But mark how gladly, through their own domains, 

The Monks relax or break these iron chains; 

While Mercy, uttering, through their voice, a sound 

Echoed in Heaven, cries out, 'Ye Chiefs, abate 

These legalized oppressions! Man whose name 10 

And nature God disdained not; Man whose soul 

Christ died for cannot forfeit his high claim 

To live and move exempt from all control 

Which fellow-feeling doth not mitigate! ' 



MONKS AND SCHOOLMEN 

RECORD we too, with just and faithful pen, 

That many hooded Cenobites there are, 

Who in their private cells have yet a care 

Of public quiet; unambitious Men, 

Counsellors for the world, of piercing ken ; 5 

Whose fervent exhortations from afar 

Move Princes to their duty, peace or war; 

And oft-times in the most forbidding den 

Of solitude, with love of science strong, 

How patiently the yoke of thought they bear! 10 

How subtly glide its finest threads along! 

Spirits that crowd the intellectual sphere 

With mazy boundaries, as the astronomer 

With orb and cycle girds the starry throng. 



142 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 



2.6 

OTHER BENEFITS 

AND, not in vain embodied to the sight, 

Religion finds even in the stern retreat 

Of feudal sway her own appropriate seat; 

From the collegiate pomps on Windsor's height 

Down to the humbler altar, which the Knight 5 

And his Retainers of the embattled hall 

Seek in domestic oratory small, 

For prayer in stillness, or the chanted rite; 

Then chiefly dear, when foes are planted round, 

Who teach the intrepid guardians of the place 10 

Hourly exposed to death, with famine worn, 

And suffering under many a perilous wound 

How sad would be their durance, if forlorn 

Of offices dispensing heavenly grace! 



2.7 

CONTINUED 

AND what melodious sounds at times prevail! 

And, ever and anon, how bright a gleam 

Pours on the surface of the turbid Stream! 

What heartfelt fragrance mingles with the gale 

That swells the bosom of our passing sail! 5 

For where, but on this River's margin, blow 

Those flowers of chivalry, to bind the brow 

Of hardihood with wreaths that shall not fail? 

Fair Court of Edward ! wonder of the world ! 

I see a matchless blazonry unfurled 10 

Of wisdom, magnanimity, and love; , 

And meekness tempering honourable pride; 

The lamb is couching by the lion's side, 

And near the flame-eyed eagle sits the dove. 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 143 



2.8 

CRUSADERS 

FURL we the sails, and pass with tardy oars 

Through these bright regions, casting many a glance 

Upon the dream-like issues the romance 

Of many-coloured life that Fortune pours 

Round the Crusaders, till on distant shores 5 

Their labours end; or they return to lie, 

The vow performed, in cross-legged effigy, 

Devoutly stretched upon their chancel floors. 

Am I deceived? Or is their requiem chanted 

By voices never mute when Heaven unties 10 

Her inmost, softest, tenderest harmonies; 

Requiem which Earth takes up with voice undaunted, 

When she would tell how Brave, and Good, and Wise, 

For their high guerdon not in vain have panted ! 



2.9 

As faith thus sanctified the warrior's crest 

While from the Papal Unity there came, 

What feebler means had failed to give, one aim 

Diffused through all the regions of the West; 

So does her Unity its power attest 5 

By works of Art, that shed, on the outward frame 

Of worship, glory and grace, which who shall blame 

That ever looked to heaven for final rest? 

Hail countless Temples! that so well befit 

Your ministry; that, as ye rise and take 10 

Form spirit and character from holy writ, 

Give to devotion, wheresoe'er awake, 

Pinions of high and higher sweep, and make 

The unconverted soul with awe submit. 



144 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 



2.10 

WHERE long and deeply hath been fixed the root 

In the blest soil of gospel truth, the Tree, 

(Blighted or scathed though many branches be, 

Put forth to wither, many a hopeful shoot) 

Can never cease to bear celestial fruit. 5 

Witness the Church that oft-times, with effect 

Dear to the saints, strives earnestly to eject 

Her bane, her vital energies recruit. 

Lamenting, do not hopelessly repine 

When such good work is doomed to be undone, 10 

The conquests lost that were so hardly won: 

All promises vouchsafed by Heaven will shine 

In light confirmed while years their course shall run, 

Confirmed alike in progress and decline. 



2. II 
TRANSUBSTANTIATION 

ENOUGH! for see, with dim association 

The tapers burn; the odorous incense feeds 

A greedy flame; the pompous mass proceeds; 

The Priest bestows the appointed consecration; 

And, while the HOST is raised, its elevation 5 

An awe and supernatural horror breeds; 

And all the people bow their heads, like reeds 

To a soft breeze, in lowly adoration. 

This Valdo brooks not. On the banks of Rhone 

He taught, till persecution chased him thence, 10 

To adore the Invisible, and Him alone. 

Nor are his Followers loth to seek defence, 

'Mid woods and wilds, on Nature's craggy throne, 

From rites that trample upon soul and sense. 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 145 



2.12 
THE VAUDOIS 

BUT whence came they who for the Saviour Lord 

Have long borne witness as the Scriptures teach? 

Ages ere Valdo raised his voice to preach 

In Gallic .ears the unadulterate Word, 

Their fugitive Progenitors explored 5 

Subalpine vales, in quest of safe retreats 

Where that pure Church survives, though summer heats 

Open a passage to the Romish sword, 

Far as it dares to follow. Herbs self-sown, 

And fruitage gathered from the chestnut wood, 10 

Nourish the sufferers then; and mists, that brood 

O'er chasms with new-fallen obstacles bestrewn, 

Protect them; and the eternal snow that daunts 

Aliens, is God's good winter for their haunts. 



2.13 

PRAISED be the Rivers, from their mountain springs 

Shouting to Freedom, 'Plant thy banners here!' 

To harassed Piety, ' Dismiss thy fear, 

And in our caverns smooth thy ruffled wings! ' 

Nor be unthanked their final lingerings 5 

Silent, but not to high-souled Passion's ear 

'Mid reedy fens wide-spread and marshes drear, 

Their own creation. Such glad welcomings 

As Po was heard to give where Venice rose 

Hailed from aloft those Heirs of truth divine 10 

Who near his fountains sought obscure repose, 

Yet came prepared as glorious lights to shine, 

Should that be needed for their sacred Charge; 

Blest Prisoners They, whose spirits were at large! 



11 



146 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 



2.14 

WALDENSES 

THOSE had given earliest notice, as the lark 

Springs from the ground the morn to gratulate; 

Or rather rose the day to antedate, 

By striking out a solitary spark, 

When all the world with midnight gloom was dark. 5 

Then followed the Waldensian bands, whom Hate 

In vain endeavours to exterminate, 

Whom Obloquy pursues with hideous bark: 

But they desist not; and the sacred fire, 

Rekindled thus, from dens and savage woods 10 

Moves, handed on with never-ceasing care, 

Through courts, through camps, o'er limitary floods; 

Nor lacks this sea-girt Isle a timely share 

Of the new Flame, not suffered to expire. 



2.15 

ARCHBISHOP CHICHELEY TO HENRY V 

4 WHAT beast in wilderness or cultured field 

The lively beauty of the leopard shows? 

What flower in meadow-ground or garden grows 

That to the towering lily doth not yield? 

Let both meet only on thy royal shield ! 5 

Go forth, great King! claim what thy birth bestows; 

Conquer the Gallic lily which thy foes 

Dare to usurp; thou hast a sword to wield, 

And Heaven will crown the right.' The mitred Sire 

Thus spake and lo! a Fleet, for Gaul addrest, 10 

Ploughs her bold course across the wondering seas; 

For, sooth to say, ambition, in the breast 

Of youthful heroes, is no sullen fire, 

But one that leaps to meet the fanning breeze. 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 147 

2.16 

WARS OF YORK AND LANCASTER 

THUS is the storm abated by the craft 

Of a shrewd Counsellor, eager to protect 

The Church, whose power hath recently been checked, 

Whose monstrous riches threatened. So the shaft 

Of victory mounts high, and blood is quaffed 5 

In fields that rival Cressy and Poictiers 

Pride to be washed away by bitter tears! 

For deep as hell itself, the avenging draught 

Of civil slaughter. Yet, while temporal power 

Is by these shocks exhausted, spiritual truth 10 

Maintains the else endangered gift of life; 

Proceeds from infancy to lusty youth; 

And, under cover of this woeful strife, 

Gathers unblighted strength from hour to hour. 



2.17 

WICLIFFE 

ONCE more the Church is seized with sudden fear, 

And at her call is Wicliffe disinhumed: 

Yea, his dry bones to ashes are consumed 

And flung into the brook that travels near; 

Forthwith, that ancient Voice which Streams can hear 5 

Thus speaks (that Voice which walks upon the wind, 

Though seldom heard by busy human kind) 

'As thou these ashes, little Brook! wilt bear 

Into the Avon, Avon to the tide 

Of Severn, Severn to the narrow seas, IO 

Into main Ocean they, this deed accurst 

An emblem yields to friends and enemies 

How the bold Teacher's Doctrine, sanctified 

By truth, shall spread, throughout the world dispersed.' 



148 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

- 2.18 

CORRUPTIONS OF THE HIGHER CLERGY 

'WoE to you, Prelates! rioting in ease 

And cumbrous wealth the shame of your estate; 

You, on whose progress dazzling trains await 

Of pompous horses; whom vain titles please; 

Who will be served by others on their knees, 5 

Yet will yourselves to God no service pay; 

Pastors who neither take nor point the way 

To Heaven; for, either lost in vanities 

Ye have no skill to teach, or if ye know 

And speak the word Alas! of fearful things 10 

'Tis the most fearful when the people's eye 
Abuse hath cleared from vain imaginings; 
And taught the general voice to prophesy 
Of Justice armed, and Pride to be laid low. 



2.19 

ABUSE OF MONASTIC POWER 

AND what is Penance with her knotted thong; 

Mortification with the shirt of hair, 

Wan cheek, and knees indurated with prayer, 

Vigils, and fastings rigorous as long; 

If cloistered Avarice scruple not to wrong 5 

The pious, humble, useful Secular, 

And rob the people of his daily care, 

Scorning that world whose blindness makes her strong? 

Inversion strange! that, unto One who lives 

For self, and struggles with himself alone, 10 

The amplest share of heavenly favour gives; 

That to a Monk allots, both in the esteem 

Of God and man, place higher than to him 

Who on the good of others builds his own! 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 149 

2.20 
MONASTIC VOLUPTUOUSNESS 

YET more, round many a Convent's blazing fire 

Unhallowed threads of revelry are spun; 

There Venus sits disguised like a Nun, 

While Bacchus, clothed in semblance of a Friar, 

Pours out his choicest beverage high and higher 5 

Sparkling, until it cannot choose but run 

Over the bowl, whose silver lip hath won 

An instant kiss of masterful desire 

To stay the precious waste. Through every brain 

The domination of the sprightly juice 10 

Spreads high conceits to madding Fancy dear, 

Till the arched roof, with resolute abuse 

Of its grave echoes, swells a choral strain, 

Whose votive burthen is 'OUR KINGDOM'S HERE!' 



2.21 

DISSOLUTION OF THE MONASTERIES 

THREATS come which no submission may assuage, 

No sacrifice avert, no power dispute; 

The tapers shall be quenched, the belfries mute, 

And, 'mid their choirs unroofed by selfish rage, 

The warbling wren shall find a leafy cage; 5 

The gadding bramble hang her purple fruit; 

And the green lizard and the gilded newt 

Lead unmolested lives, and die of age. 

The owl of evening and the woodland fox 

For their abode the shrines of Waltham chooser rcr 

Proud Glastonbury can no more refuse 

To stoop her head before these desperate shocks 

She whose high pomp displaced, as story tells, 

Arimathean Joseph's wattled cells. 



150 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 



2.22 
THE SAME SUBJECT 

THE lovely Nun (submissive, but more meek 

Through saintly habit than from effort due 

To unrelenting mandates that pursue 

With equal wrath the steps of strong and weak) 

Goes forth unveiling timidly a cheek 5 

Suffused with blushes of celestial hue, 

While through the Convent's gate to open view 

Softly she glides, another home to seek. 

Not Iris, issuing from her cloudy shrine, 

An Apparition more divinely bright! 10 

Not more attractive to the dazzled sight 

Those watery glories, on the stormy brine 

Poured forth, while summer suns at distance shine, 

And the green vales lie hushed in sober light! 



2.23 

CONTINUED 

YET many a Novice of the cloistral shade, 

And many chained by vows, with eager glee 

The warrant hail, exulting to be free; 

Like ships before whose keels, full long embayed 

In polar ice, propitious winds have made 5 

Unlooked-for outlet to an open sea, 

Their liquid world, for bold discovery, 

In all her quarters temptingly displayed! 

Hope guides the young; but when the old must pass 

The threshold, whither shall they turn to find 10 

The hospitality the alms (alas! 

Alms may be needed) which that House bestowed? 

Can they, in faith and worship, train the mind 

To keep this new and questionable road? 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 151 



2.24 

SAINTS 

YE, too, must fly before a chasing hand, 

Angels and Saints, in every hamlet mourned ! 

Ah! if the old idolatry be spurned, 

Let not your radiant Shapes desert the Land: 

Her adoration was not your demand, 5 

The fond heart proffered it the servile heart; 

And therefore are ye summoned to depart, 

Michael, and thou, St. George, whose flaming brand 

The Dragon quelled; and valiant Margaret 

Whose rival sword a like Opponent slew: 10 

And rapt Cecilia, seraph-haunted Queen 

Of harmony; and weeping Magdalene, 

Who in the penitential desert met 

Gales sweet as those that over Eden blew! 



2.25 

THE VIRGIN 

MOTHER! whose virgin bosom was uncrost 

With the least shade of thought to sin allied; 

Woman! above all women glorified, 

Our tainted nature's solitary boast; 

Purer than foam on central ocean tost; 5 

Brighter than eastern skies at daybreak strewn 

With fancied roses, than the unblemished moon 

Before her wane begins on heaven's blue coast; 

Thy Image falls to earth. Yet some, I ween, 

Not unforgiven the suppliant knee might bend, 10 

As to a visible Power, in which did blend 

All that was mixed and reconciled in Thee 

Of mother's love with maiden purity, 

Of high with low, celestial with terrene! 



152 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 



2.26 

APOLOGY 

NOT utterly unworthy to endure 

Was the supremacy of crafty Rome; 

Age after age to the arch of Christendom 

Aerial keystone haughtily secure; 

Supremacy from Heaven transmitted pure, 5 

As many hold; and, therefore, to the tomb 

Pass, some through fire and by the scaffold some 

Like saintly Fisher, and unbending More. 

' Lightly for both the bosom's lord did sit 

Upon his throne'; unsoftened, undismayed 10 

By aught that mingled with the tragic scene 

Of pity or fear; and More's gay genius played 

With the inoffensive sword of native wit, 

Than the bare axe more luminous and keen. 



2.27 

IMAGINATIVE REGRETS 

DEEP is the lamentation! Not alone 

From Sages justly honoured by mankind; 

But from the ghostly tenants of the wind, 

Demons and Spirits, many a dolorous groan 

Issues for that dominion overthrown: 5 

Proud Tiber grieves, and far-off Ganges, blind 

As his own worshippers: and Nile, reclined 

Upon his monstrous urn, the farewell moan 

Renews. Through every forest, cave, and den, 

Where frauds were hatched of old, hath sorrow past 10 

Hangs o'er the Arabian Prophet's native Waste, 

Where once his airy helpers schemed and planned 

'Mid spectral lakes bemocking thirsty men, 

And stalking pillars built of fiery sand. 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 153 



2.28 

REFLECTIONS 

GRANT, that by this unsparing hurricane 

Green leaves with yellow mixed are torn away, 

And goodly fruitage with the mother-spray; 

'Twere madness wished we, therefore, to detain, 

With hands stretched forth in mollified disdain, 5 

The 'trumpery' that ascends in bare display 

Bulls, pardons, relics, cowls black, white, and grey 

Upwhirled, and flying o'er the ethereal plain 

Fast bound for Limbo Lake. And yet not choice 

But habit rules the unreflecting herd, 10 

And airy bonds are hardest to disown; 

Hence, with the spiritual sovereignty transferred 

Unto itself, the Crown assumes a voice 

Of reckless mastery, hitherto unknown. 



2.29 

TRANSLATION OF THE BIBLE 

BUT, to outweigh all harm, the sacred Book, 

In dusty sequestration wrapt too long, 

Assumes the accents of our native tongue; 

And he who guides the plough, or wields the crook, 

With understanding spirit now may look 5 

Upon her records, listen to her song, 

And sift her laws much wondering that the wrong, 

Which Faith has suffered, Heaven could calmly brook. 

Transcendent Boon! noblest that earthly King 

Ever bestowed to equalize and bless 10 

Under the weight of mortal wretchedness! 

But passions spread like plagues, and thousands wild 

With bigotry shall tread the Offering 

Beneath their feet, detested and defiled. 



154 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 



2.30 

THE POINT AT ISSUE 

FOR what contend the wise? for nothing less 

Than that the Soul, freed from the bonds of Sense, 

And to her God restored by evidence 

Of things not seen, drawn forth from their recess, 

Root there, and not in forms, her holiness; 5 

For Faith, which to the Patriarchs did dispense 

Sure guidance, ere a ceremonial fence 

Was needful round men thirsting to transgress; 

For Faith, more perfect still, with which the Lord 

Of all, himself a Spirit, in the youth 10 

Of Christian aspiration, deigned to fill 

The temples of their hearts who, with his word 

Informed, were resolute to do his will, 

And worship him in spirit and in truth. 



2.31 

EDWARD VI 

1 SWEET is the holiness of Youth' so felt 

Time-honoured Chaucer speaking through that Lay 

By which the Prioress beguiled the way, 

And many a Pilgrim's rugged heart did melt. 

Hadst thou, loved Bard! whose spirit often dwelt 5 

In the clear land of vision, but foreseen 

King, child, and seraph, blended in the mien 

Of pious Edward kneeling as he knelt 

In'meek and simple infancy, what joy 

For universal Christendom had thrilled 10 

Thy heart! what hopes inspired thy genius, skilled 

(O great Precursor, genuine morning Star) 

The lucid shafts of reason to employ, 

Piercing the Papal darkness from afar! 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 155 



2.32 

EDWARD SIGNING THE WARRANT FOR THE 
EXECUTION OF JOAN OF KENT 

THE tears of man in various measure gush 

From various sources; gently overflow 

From blissful transport some from clefts of woe 

Some with ungovernable impulse rush; 

And some, coeval with the earliest blush 5 

Of infant passion, scarcely dare to show 

Their pearly lustre coming but to go; 

And some break forth when others' sorrows crush 

The sympathising heart. Nor these, nor yet 

The noblest drops to admiration known, 10 

To gratitude, to injuries forgiven 

Claim Heaven's regard like waters that have wet 

The innocent eyes of youthful Monarchs driven 

To pen the mandates, nature doth disown. 



2-33 

REVIVAL OF POPERY 

THE saintly Youth has ceased to rule, discrowned 

By unrelenting Death. O People keen 

For change, to whom the new looks always green! 

Rejoicing did they cast upon the ground 

Their Gods of wood and stone; and, at the sound 5 

Of counter-proclamation, now are seen, 

(Proud triumph is it for a sullen Queen!) 

Lifting them up, the worship to confound 

Of the Most High. Again do they invoke 

The Creature, to the Creature glory give; 10 

Again with frankincense the altars smoke 

Like those the Heathen served; and mass is sung; 

And prayer, man's rational prerogative, 

Runs through blind channels of an unknown tongue. 



156 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 



2.34 

LATIMER AND RIDLEY 

How fast the Marian death-list is unrolled! 

See Latimer and Ridley in the might 

Of Faith stand coupled for a common flight! 

One (like those prophets whom God sent of old) 

Transfigured, from this kindling hath foretold 5 

A torch of inextinguishable light; 

The Other gains a confidence as bold; 

And thus they foil their enemy's despite. 

The penal instruments, the shows of crime, 

Are glorified while this once-mitred pair 10 

Of saintly Friends the ' murtherer's chain partake, 

Corded, and burning at the social stake': 

Earth never witnessed object more sublime 

In constancy, in fellowship more fair! 



2-35 

CRANMER 

OUTSTRETCHING flame-ward his upbraided hand 

(O God of mercy, may no earthly Seat 

Of judgment such presumptuous doom repeat!) 

Amid the shuddering throng doth Cranmer stand; 

Firm as the stake to which with iron band 5 

His frame is tied; firm from the naked feet 

To the bare head. The victory is complete; 

The shrouded Body to the Soul's command 

Answers with more than Indian fortitude, 

Through all her nerves with finer sense endued, I'o 

Till breath departs in blissful aspiration: 

Then, 'mid the ghastly ruins of the fire, 

Behold the unalterable heart entire, 

Emblem of faith untouched, miraculous attestation! 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 157 



2.36 

GENERAL VIEW OF THE TROUBLES OF THE REFORMATION 

AID, glorious Martyrs, from your fields of light, 

Our mortal ken! Inspire a perfect trust 

(While we look round) that Heaven's decrees are just: 

Which few can hold committed to a fight 

That shows, ev'n on its better side, the might 5 

Of proud Self-will, Rapacity, and Lust, 

'Mid clouds enveloped of polemic dust, 

Which showers of blood seem rather to incite 

Than to allay. Anathemas are hurled 

From both sides; veteran thunders (the brute test 10 

Of truth) are met by fulminations new 

Tartarean flags are caught at, and unfurled 

Friends strike at friends the flying shall pursue 

And Victory sickens, ignorant where to rest! 



2-37 

ENGLISH REFORMERS IN EXILE 

SCATTERING, like birds escaped the fowler's net, 

Some seek with timely flight a foreign strand; 

Most happy, re-assembled in a land 

By dauntless Luther freed, could they forget 

Their Country's woes. But scarcely have they met, 5 

Partners in faith, and brothers in distress, 

Free to pour forth their common thankfulness, 

Ere hope declines: their union is beset 

With speculative notions rashly sown, 

Whence thickly-sprouting growth of poisonous weeds; 10 

Their forms are broken staves; their passions, steeds 

That master them. How enviably blest 

Is he who can, by help of grace, enthrone 

The peace of God within his single breast! 



158 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 



2.38 

ELIZABETH 

HAIL, Virgin Queen! o'er many an envious bar 

Triumphant, snatched from many a treacherous wile! 

All hail, sage Lady, whom a grateful Isle 

Hath blest, respiring from that dismal war 

Stilled by thy voice! But quickly from afar 5 

Defiance breathes with more malignant aim; 

And alien storms with home-bred ferments claim 

Portentous fellowship. Her silver car, 

By sleepless prudence ruled, glides slowly on; 

Unhurt by violence, from menaced taint 10 

Emerging pure, and seemingly more bright: 

Ah! wherefore yields it to a foul constraint 

Black as the clouds its beams dispersed, while shone, 

By men and angels blest, the glorious light? 



2-39 

EMINENT REFORMERS 

METHINKS that I could trip o'er heaviest soil, 

Light as a buoyant bark from wave to wave, 

Were mine the trusty staff that JEWEL gave 

To youthful HOOKER, in familiar style 

The gift exalting, and with playful smile: 5 

For thus equipped, and bearing on his head 

The Donor's farewell blessing, can he dread 

Tempest, or length of way, or weight of toil? 

More sweet than odours caught by him who sails 

Near spicy shores of Araby the blest, IO 

A thousand times more exquisitely sweet, 

The freight of holy feeling which we meet, 

In thoughtful moments, wafted by the gales 

From fields where good men walk, or bowers wherein they rest. 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 159 



2.40 

THE SAME 

HOLY and heavenly Spirits as they are, 

Spotless in life, and eloquent as wise, 

With what entire affection do they prize 

Their Church reformed ! labouring with earnest care 

To baffle all that may her strength impair; 5 

That Church, the unperverted Gospel's seat; 

In their afflictions a divine retreat; 

Source of their liveliest hope, and tenderest prayer! 

The truth exploring with an equal mind, 

In doctrine and communion they have sought 10 

Firmly between the two extremes to steer; 

But theirs the wise man's ordinary lot, 

To trace right courses for the stubborn blind, 

And prophesy to ears that will not hear. 



2.41 

DISTRACTIONS 

MEN, who have ceased to reverence, soon defy 

Their forefathers; lo! sects are formed, and split 

With morbid restlessness; the ecstatic fit 

Spreads wide; though special mysteries multiply, 

The Saints must govern, is their common cry; 5 

And so they labour, deeming Holy Writ 

Disgraced by aught that seems content to sit 

Beneath the roof of settled Modesty. 

The Romanist exults; fresh hope he draws 

From the confusion, craftily incites IO 

The overweening, personates the mad 

To heap disgust upon the worthier Cause: 

Totters the Throne; the new-born Church is sad, 

For every wave against her peace unites. 



160 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

2.42 

GUNPOWDER PLOT 

FEAR hath a hundred eyes that all agree 

To plague her beating heart; and there is one 

(Nor idlest that!) which holds communion 

With things that were not, yet were meant to be. 

Aghast within its gloomy cavity 5 

That eye (which sees as if fulfilled and done 

Crimes that might stop the motion of the sun) 

Beholds the horrible catastrophe 

Of an assembled Senate unredeemed 

From subterraneous Treason's darkling power: 10 

Merciless act of sorrow infinite ! 

Worse than the product of that dismal night, 

When gushing, copious as a thunder-shower, 

The blood of Huguenots through Paris streamed. 



243 
ILLUSTRATION: THE JUNG-FRAU AND THE FALL OF THE 

RHINE NEAR SCHAFFHAUSEN 
THE Virgin-Mountain, wearing like a Queen 
A brilliant crown of everlasting snow, 
Sheds ruin from her sides; and men below 
Wonder that aught of aspect so serene 

Can link with desolation. Smooth and green, 5 

And seeming, at a little distance, slow, 
The waters of the Rhine; but on they go 
Fretting and whitening, keener and more keen; 
Till madness seizes on the whole wide Flood, 
Turned to a fearful Thing whose nostrils breathe 10 

Blasts of tempestuous smoke wherewith he tries 
To hide himself, but only magnifies; 
And doth in more conspicuous torment writhe, 
Deafening the region in his ireful mood. 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 161 



2.44 

TROUBLES OF CHARLES THE FIRST 

EVEN such the contrast that, where'er we move, 

To the mind's eye Religion doth present; 

Now with her own deep quietness content; 

Then, like the mountain, thundering from above 

Against the ancient pine-trees of the grove 5 

And the Land's humblest comforts. Now her mood 

Recalls the transformation of the flood, 

Whose rage the gentle skies in vain reprove, 

Earth cannot check. O terrible excess 

Of headstrong will! Can this be Piety? 10 

No some fierce Maniac hath usurped her name; 

And scourges England struggling to be free: 

Her peace destroyed! her hopes a wilderness! 

Her blessings cursed her glory turned to shame! 



2.45 

LAUD 

PREJUDGED by foes determined not to spare, 

An old weak Man for vengeance thrown aside, 

Laud, 'in the painful art of dying' tried, 

(Like a poor bird entangled in a snare 

Whose heart still flutters, though his wings forbear 5 

To stir in useless struggle) hath relied 

On hope that conscious innocence supplied, 

And in his prison breathes celestial air. 

Why tarries then thy chariot? Wherefore stay, 

O Death! the ensanguined yet triumphant wheels, 10 

Which thou prepar'st, full often, to convey 

(What time a State with madding faction reels) 

The Saint or Patriot to the world that heals 

All wounds, all perturbations doth allay? 



12 



162 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

2.46 

AFFLICTIONS OF ENGLAND 

HARP! couldst thou venture, on thy boldest string, 
. The faintest note to echo which the blast 
Caught from the hand of Moses as it passed 
O'er Sinai's top, or from the Shepherd-king, 
Early awake, by Siloa's brook, to sing 5 

Of dread Jehovah; then, should wood and waste 
Hear also of that name, and mercy cast 
Off to the mountains, like a covering 
Of which the Lord was weary. Weep, oh ! weep, 
Weep with the good, beholding King and Priest 10 

Despised by that stern God to whom they raise 
Their suppliant hands; but holy is the feast 
He keepeth; like the firmament his ways: 
His statutes like the chambers of the deep. 



PART 3 
FROM THE RESTORATION TO THE PRESENT TIMES 



I SAW the figure of a lovely Maid 

Seated alone beneath a darksome tree, 

Whose fondly-overhanging canopy 

Set off her brightness with a pleasing shade. 

No Spirit was she; that my heart betrayed, 5 

For she was one I loved exceedingly; 

But while I gazed in tender reverie 

(Or was it sleep that with my Fancy played?) 

The bright corporeal presence form and face 

Remaining still distinct grew thin and rare, 10 

Like sunny mist; at length the golden hair, 

Shape, limbs, and heavenly features, keeping pace 

Each with the other in a lingering race 

Of dissolution, melted into air. 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 163 



3-2 

PATRIOTIC SYMPATHIES 

LAST night, without a voice, that Vision spake 

Fear to my Soul, and sadness which might seem 

Wholly dissevered from our present theme; 

Yet, my beloved Country! I partake 

Of kindred agitations for thy sake; 5 

Thou, too, dost visit oft my midnight dream; 

Thy glory meets me with the earliest beam 

Of light, which tells that Morning is awake. 

If aught impair thy beauty or destroy, 

Or but forbode destruction, I deplore 10 

With filial love the sad vicissitude; 

If thou hast fallen, and righteous Heaven restore 

The prostrate, then my spring-time is renewed, 

And sorrow bartered for exceeding joy. 



3-3 

CHARLES THE SECOND 

WHO comes with rapture greeted, and caressed 

With frantic love his kingdom to regain? 

Him Virtue's Nurse, Adversity, in vain 

Received, and fostered in her iron breast: 

For all she taught of hardiest and of best, 5 

Or would have taught, by discipline of pain 

And long privation, now dissolves amain, 

Or is remembered only to give zest 

To wantonness. Away, Circean revels! 

But for what gain? if England soon must sink 10 

Into a gulf which all distinction levels 

That bigotry may swallow the good name, 

And, with that draught, the life-blood: misery, shame, 

By Poets loathed; from which Historians shrink! 



164 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

34 

LATITUDINARIANISM 

YET Truth is keenly sought for, and the wind 

Charged with rich words poured out in thought's defence; 

Whether the Church inspire that eloquence, 

Or a Platonic Piety confined 

To the sole temple of the inward mind ; 5 

And One there is who builds immortal lays, 

Though doomed to tread in solitary ways, 

Darkness before and danger's voice behind ; 

Yet not alone, nor helpless to repel 

Sad thoughts; for from above the starry sphere 10 

Come secrets, whispered nightly to his ear; 

And the pure spirit of celestial light 

Shines through his soul ' that he may see and tell 

Of things invisible to mortal sight.' 



3-5 

WALTON'S BOOK OF LIVES 
THERE are no colours in the fairest sky 
So fair as these. The feather, whence the pen 
Was shaped that traced the lives of these good men, 
Dropped from an Angel's wing. With moistened eye 
We read of faith and purest charity 5 

In Statesman, Priest, and humble Citizen: 
O could we copy their mild virtues, then 
What joy to live, what blessedness to die! 
Methinks their very names shine still and bright; 
Apart like glow-worms on a summer night; 10 

Or lonely tapers when from far they fling 
A guiding ray; or seen like stars on high, 
Satellites burning in a lucid ring 
Around meek Walton's heavenly memory. 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 165 



3-6 

CLERICAL INTEGRITY 

NOR shall the eternal roll of praise reject 

Those Unconforming; whom one rigorous day 

Drives from their Cures, a voluntary prey 

To poverty, and grief, and disrespect, 

And some to want as if by tempests wrecked 5 

On a wild coast; how destitute! did They 

Feel not that Conscience never can betray, 

That peace of mind is Virtue's sure effect. 

Their altars they forego, their homes they quit, 

Fields which they love, and paths they daily trod, 10 

And cast the future upon Providence; 

As men the dictate of whose inward sense 

Outweighs the world; whom self-deceiving wit 

Lures not from what they deem the cause of God. 



3-7 

PERSECUTION OF THE SCOTTISH COVENANTERS 

WHEN Alpine Vales threw forth a suppliant cry, 

The majesty of England interposed 

And the sword stopped; the bleeding wounds were closed; 

And Faith preserved her ancient purity. 

How little boots that precedent of good, 5 

Scorned or forgotten, Thou canst testify, 

For England's shame, O Sister Realm! from wood, 

Mountain, and moor, and crowded street, where lie 

The headless martyrs of the Covenant, 

Slain by Compatriot-pro testants that draw IO 

From councils senseless as intolerant 

Their warrant. Bodies fall by wild sword-law; 

But who would force the Soul, tilts with a straw 

Against a Champion cased in adamant. 



166 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 



3-8 

ACQUITTAL OF THE BISHOPS 

A VOICE, from long-expecting thousands sent, 

Shatters the air, and troubles tower and spire; 

For Justice hath absolved the innocent, 

And Tyranny is balked of her desire: 

Up, down, the busy Thames rapid as fire 5 

Coursing a train of gunpowder it went, 

And transport finds in every street a vent, 

Till the whole City rings like one vast quire. 

The Fathers urge the People to be still, 

With outstretched hands and earnest speech in vain! 10 

Yea, many, haply wont to entertain 

Small reverence for the mitre's offices, 

And to Religion's self no friendly will, 

A Prelate's blessing ask on bended knees. 



3-9 

WILLIAM THE THIRD 

CALM as an under-current, strong to draw * 

Millions of waves into itself, and run, 

From sea to sea, impervious to the sun 

And ploughing storm, the spirit of Nassau 

Swerves not, (how blest if by religious awe 5 

Swayed, and thereby enabled to contend 

With the wide world's commotions) from its end 

Swerves not diverted by a casual law. 

Had mortal action e'er a nobler scope? 

The Hero comes to liberate, not defy; 10 

And, while he marches on with steadfast hope, 

Conqueror beloved! expected anxiously! 

The vacillating Bondman of the Pope 

Shrinks from the verdict of his steadfast eye. 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 167 



3.10 

OBLIGATIONS OF CIVIL TO RELIGIOUS LIBERTY 

UNGRATEFUL Country, if thou e'er forget 

The sons who for thy civil rights have bled ! 

How, like a Roman, Sidney bowed his head, 

And Russell's milder blood the scaffold wet; 

But these had fallen for profitless regret 5 

Had not thy holy Church her champions bred, 

And claims from other worlds inspirited 

The star of Liberty to rise. Nor yet 

(Grave this within thy heart!) if spiritual things 

Be lost, through apathy, or scorn, or fear, 10 

Shalt thou thy humbler franchises support, 

However hardly won or justly dear: 

What came from heaven to heaven by nature clings, 

And, if dissevered thence, its course is short. 



SACHEVEREL 

A SUDDEN conflict rises from the swell 

Of a proud slavery met by tenets strained 

In Liberty's behalf. Fears, true or feigned, 

Spread through all ranks; and lo! the Sentinel 

Who loudest rang his pulpit 'larum bell, 5 

Stands at the Bar, absolved by female eyes 

Mingling their glances with grave flatteries 

Lavished on Him that England may rebel 

Against her ancient virtue. HIGH and Low, 

Watchwords of Party, on all tongues are rife; 10 

As if a Church, though sprung from heaven, must owe 

To opposites and fierce extremes her life, 

Not to the golden mean, and quiet flow 

Of truths that soften hatred, temper strife. 



168 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 



3.12 

DOWN a swift Stream, thus far, a bold design 

Have we pursued, with livelier stir of heart 

Than his who sees, borne forward by the Rhine, 

The living landscapes greet him, and depart; 

Sees spires fast sinking up again to start! 5 

And strives the towers to number, that recline 

O'er the dark steeps, or on the horizon line 

Striding with shattered crests his eye athwart. 

So have we hurried on with troubled pleasure: 

Henceforth, as on the bosom of a stream 10 

That slackens, and spreads wide a watery gleam, 

We, nothing loth a lingering course to measure, 

May gather up our thoughts, and mark at leisure 

How widely spread the interests of our theme. 



3-13 

ASPECTS OF CHRISTIANITY IN AMERICA 
I THE PILGRIM FATHERS 

WELL worthy to be magnified are they 

Who, with sad hearts, of friends and country took 

A last farewell, their loved abodes forsook, 

And hallowed ground in which their fathers lay; 

Then to the new-found World explored their way, 5 

That so a Church, unforced, uncalled to brook 

Ritual restraints, within some sheltering nook 

Her Lord might worship and his word obey 

In freedom. Men they were who could not bend; 

Blest Pilgrims, surely, as they took for guide 10 

A will by sovereign Conscience sanctified ; 

Blest while their Spirits from the woods ascend 

Along a Galaxy that knows no end, 

But in His glory who for Sinners died. 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 169 

3-14 

II CONTINUED 

FROM Rite and Ordinance abused they fled 

To Wilds where both were utterly unknown; 

But not to them had Providence foreshown 

What benefits are missed, what evils bred, 

In worship neither raised nor limited 5 

Save by Self-will. Lo! from that distant shore, 

For Rite and Ordinance, Piety is led 

Back to the Land those Pilgrims left of yore, 

Led by her own free choice. So Truth and Love 

By Conscience governed do their steps retrace. 10 

Fathers! your Virtues, such the power of grace, 

Their spirit, in your Children, thus approve. 

Transcendent over time, unbound by place, 

Concord and Charity in circles move. 



3.15 

in CONCLUDED: AMERICAN EPISCOPACY 
PATRIOTS informed with Apostolic light 
Were they, who, when their Country had been freed, 
Bowing with reverence to the ancient creed, 
Fixed on the frame of England's Church their sight, 
And strove in filial love to reunite 5 

What force had severed. Thence they fetched the seed 
Of Christian unity, and won a meed 
Of praise from Heaven. To Thee, O saintly WHITE, 
Patriarch of a wide-spreading family, 

Remotest lands and unborn times shall turn, 10 

Whether they would restore or build to Thee, 
As one who rightly taught how zeal should burn, 
As one who drew from out Faith's holiest urn 
The purest stream of patient Energy. 



170 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 



3.16 

BISHOPS and Priests, blessed are ye, if deep 

(As yours above all offices is high) 

Deep in your hearts the sense of duty lie; 

Charged as ye are by Christ to feed and keep 

From wolves your portion of His chosen sheep: 5 

Labouring as ever in your Master's sight, 

Making your hardest task your best delight, 

What perfect glory ye in Heaven shall reap ! 

But, in the solemn Office which ye sought 

And undertook premonished, if unsound 10 

Your practice prove, faithless though but in thought, 

Bishops and Priests, think what a gulf profound 

Awaits you then, if they were rightly taught 

Who framed the Ordinance by your lives disowned ! 



3-17 

PLACES OF WORSHIP 

As star that shines dependent upon star 

Is to the sky while we look up in love; 

As to the deep fair ships which though they move 

Seem fixed, to eyes that watch them from afar; 

As to the sandy desert fountains are, 5 

With palm-groves shaded at wide intervals, 

Whose fruit around the sun-burnt Native falls 

Of roving tired or desultory war 

Such to this British Isle her Christian Fanes, 

Each linked to each for kindred services; 10 

Her Spires, her Steeple-towers with glittering vanes 

Far-kenned, her Chapels lurking among trees, 

Where a few villagers on bended knees 

Find solace which a busy world disdains. 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 171 

3-18 

PASTORAL CHARACTER 

A GENIAL hearth, a hospitable board, 

And a refined rusticity, belong 

To the neat mansion, where, his flock among, 

The learned Pastor dwells, their watchful Lord. 

Though meek and patient as a sheathed sword; 5 

Though pride's least lurking thought appear a wrong 

To human kind; though peace be on his tongue, 

Gentleness in his heart can earth afford 

Such genuine state, pre-eminence so free, 

As when, arrayed in Christ's authority, . . 10 

He from the pulpit lifts his awful hand ; 

Conjures, implores, and labours all he can 

For re-subjecting to divine command 

The stubborn spirit of rebellious man? 



3-19 

THE LITURGY 

YES, if the intensities of hope and fear 

Attract us still, and passionate exercise 

Of lofty thoughts, the way before us lies 

Distinct with signs, through which in set career, 

As through a zodiac, moves the ritual year 5 

Of England's Church; stupendous mysteries! 

Which whoso travels in her bosom eyes, 

As he approaches them, with solemn cheer. 

Upon that circle traced from sacred story 

We only dare to cast a transient glance, 10 

Trusting in hope that Others may advance 

With mind intent upon the King of Glory, 

From his mild advent till his countenance 

Shall dissipate the seas and mountains hoary. 



172 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

3-20 

BAPTISM 

DEAR be the Church, that, watching o'er the needs 

Of Infancy, provides a timely shower 

Whose virtue changes to a Christian Flower 

A Growth from sinful Nature's bed of weeds! 

Fitliest beneath the sacred roof proceeds 5 

The ministration; while parental Love 

Looks on, and Grace descendeth from above 

As the high service pledges now, now pleads. 

There, should vain thoughts outspread their wings and fly 

To meet the coming hours of festal mirth, 10 

The tombs which hear and answer that brief cry, 

The Infant's notice of his second birth 

Recall the wandering Soul to sympathy 

With what man hopes from Heaven, yet fears from Earth. 



3.21 

SPONSORS 

FATHER! to God himself we cannot give 

A holier name! then lightly do not bear 

Both names conjoined, but of thy spiritual care 

Be duly mindful: still more sensitive 

Do Thou, in truth a second Mother, strive 5 

Against disheartening custom, that by Thee 

Watched, and with love and pious industry 

Tended at need, the adopted Plant may thrive 

For everlasting bloom. Benign and pure 

This Ordinance, whether loss it would supply, 10 

Prevent omission, help deficiency, 

Or seek to make assurance doubly sure. 

Shame if the consecrated Vow be found 

An idle form, the Word an empty sound! 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 173 



3.22 

CATECHISING 

FROM Little down to Least, in due degree, 

Around the Pastor, each in new-wrought vest, 

Each with a vernal posy at his breast, 

We stood, a trembling, earnest Company! 

With low soft murmur, like a distant bee, 5 

Some spake, by thought-perplexing fears betrayed ; 

And some a bold unerring answer made: 

How fluttered then thy anxious heart for me, 

Beloved Mother! Thou whose happy hand 

Had bound the flowers I wore, with faithful tie: 10 

Sweet flowers! at whose inaudible command 

Her countenance, phantom-like, doth re-appear: 

O lost too early for the frequent tear, 

And ill requited by this heartfelt sigh! 



3-23 

CONFIRMATION 

THE Young-ones gathered in from hill and dale, 

With holiday delight on every brow: 

'Tis past away; far other thoughts prevail; 

For they are taking the baptismal Vow 

Upon their conscious selves; their own lips speak 5 

The solemn promise. Strongest sinews fail, 

And many a blooming, many a lovely, cheek 

Under the holy fear of God turns pale; 

While on each head his lawn-robed servant lays 

An apostolic hand, and with prayer seals 10 

The Covenant. The Omnipotent will raise 

Their feeble Souls; and bear with his regrets, 

Who, looking round the fair assemblage, feels 

That ere the Sun goes down their childhood sets. 



174 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 



3-24 

CONFIRMATION CONTINUED 

I SAW a Mother's eye intensely bent 

Upon a Maiden trembling as she knelt; 

In and for whom the pious Mother felt 

Things that we judge of by a light too faint: 

Tell, if ye may, some star-crowned Muse, or Saint! 5 

Tell what rushed in, from what she was relieved 

Then, when her Child the hallowing touch received, 

And such vibration through the Mother went 

That tears burst forth amain. Did gleams appear? 

Opened a vision of that blissful place 10 

Where dwells a Sister-child? And was power given 

Part of her lost One's glory back to trace 

Even to this Rite? For thus She knelt, and, ere 

The summer-leaf had faded, passed to Heaven. 



3-25 

SACRAMENT 

BY chain yet stronger must the Soul be tied: 

One duty more, last stage of this ascent, 

Brings to thy food, mysterious Sacrament! 

The Offspring, haply at the Parent's side; 

But not till They, with all that do abide 5 

In Heaven, have lifted up their hearts to laud 

And magnify the glorious name of God, 

Fountain of Grace, whose Son for sinners died. 

Ye, who have duly 'weighed the summons, pause 

No longer; ye, whom to the saving rite 10 

The Altar calls; come early under laws 

That can secure for you a path of light 

Through gloomiest shade ; put on (nor dread its weight) 

Armour divine, and conquer in your cause! 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 175 



3-26 

THE MARRIAGE CEREMONY 

THE Vested Priest before the Altar stands ; 

Approach, come gladly, ye prepared, in sight 

Of God and chosen friends, your troth to plight 

With the symbolic ring, and willing hands 

Solemnly joined. Now sanctify the bands 5 

Father! to the Espoused thy blessing give, 

That mutually assisted they may live 

Obedient, as here taught, to thy commands. 

So prays the Church, to consecrate a Vow 

'The which would endless matrimony make'; 10 

Union that shadows forth and doth partake 

A mystery potent human love to endow 

With heavenly, each more prized for the other's sake; 

Weep not, meek Bride ! uplift thy timid brow. 



3-27 

THANKSGIVING AFTER CHILDBIRTH 

WOMAN! the Power who left His throne on high, 

And deigned to wear the robe of flesh we wear, 

The Power that through the straits of Infancy 

Did pass dependent on maternal care, 

His own humanity with Thee will share, 5 

Pleased with the thanks that in His People's eye 

Thou offerest up for safe Delivery 

From Childbirth's perilous throes. And should the Heir 

Of thy fond hopes hereafter walk inclined 

To courses fit to make a mother rue 10 

That ever he was born, a glance of mind 

Cast upon this observance may renew 

A better will; and, in the imagined view 

Of thee thus kneeling, safety he may find. 



176 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 



3.28 

VISITATION OF THE SICK 

THE Sabbath bells renew the inviting peal; 

Glad music! yet there be that, worn with pain 

And sickness, listen where they long have lain, 

In sadness listen. With maternal zeal 

Inspired, the Church sends ministers to kneel 5 

Beside the afflicted; to sustain with prayer, 

And soothe the heart confession hath laid bare 

That pardon, from God's throne, may set its seal 

On a true Penitent. When breath departs 

From one disburthened so, so comforted, 10 

His Spirit Angels greet; and ours be hope 

That, if the Sufferer rise from his sick-bed, 

Hence he will gain a firmer mind, to cope 

With a bad world, and foil the Tempter's arts. 



3-29 

THE COMMINATION SERVICE 

SHUN not this rite, neglected, yea abhorred, 

By some of unreflecting mind, as calling 

Man to curse man, (thought monstrous and appalling). 

Go thou and hear the threatenings of the Lord; 

Listening within his Temple see his sword 5 

Unsheathed in wrath to strike the offender's head, 

Thy own, if sorrow for thy sin be dead, 

Guilt unrepented, pardon unimplored. 

Two aspects bears Truth needful for salvation; 

Who knows not that? yet would this delicate age 10 

Look only on the Gospel's brighter page: 

Let light and dark duly our thoughts employ; 

So shall the fearful words of Commination 

Yield timely fruit of peace and love and joy. 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 177 

3-30 

FORMS OF PRAYER AT SEA 

To kneeling Worshippers no earthly floor 

Gives holier invitation than the deck 

Of a storm-shattered Vessel saved from Wreck 

(When all that Man could do availed no more) 

By Him who raised the Tempest and restrains: 5 

Happy the crew who this have felt, and pour 

Forth for His mercy, as the Church ordains, 

Solemn thanksgiving. Nor will they implore 

In vain who, for a rightful cause, give breath 

To words the Church prescribes aiding the lip 10 

For the heart's sake, ere ship with hostile ship 

Encounters, armed for work of pain and death. 

Suppliants! the God to whom your cause ye trust 

Will listen, and ye know that He is just. 



3-31 

FUNERAL SERVICE 

FROM the Baptismal hour, through weal and woe, 

The Church extends her care to thought and deed; 

Nor quits the Body when the Soul is freed, 

The mortal weight cast off to be laid low. 

Blest Rite for him who hears in faith, ' I know 5 

That my Redeemer liveth,' hears each word 

That follows striking on some kindred chord 

Deep in the thankful heart; yet tears will flow. 

Man is as grass that springeth up at morn, 

Grows green, anxi is cut down and withereth 10 

Ere nightfall truth that well may claim a sigh, 

Its natural echo; but hope comes reborn 

At Jesu's bidding. We rejoice, 'O Death 

Where is thy Sting? O Grave where is thy Victory?' 



13 



178 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

3-32 

RURAL CEREMONY 

CLOSING the sacred Book which long has fed 

Our meditations, give we to a day 

Of annual joy one tributary lay; 

This day, when, forth by rustic music led, 

The village Children, while the sky is red 5 

With evening lights, advance in long array 

Through the still church-yard, each with garland gay, 

That, carried sceptre-like, o'ertops the head 

Of the proud Bearer. To the wide church-door, 

Charged with these offerings which their fathers bore 10 

For decoration in the Papal time, 

The innocent Procession softly moves: 

The spirit of Laud is pleased in heaven's pure clime, 

And Hooker's voice the spectacle approves! 



3-33 

REGRETS 

WOULD that our scrupulous Sires had dared to leave 

Less scanty measure of those graceful rites 

And usages, whose due return invites 

A stir of mind too natural to deceive; 

Giving to Memory help when she would weave 5 

A crown for Hope ! I dread the boasted lights 

That all too often are but fiery blights, 

Killing the bud o'er which in vain we grieve. 

Go, seek, when Christmas snows discomfort bring, 

The counter Spirit found in some gay church 10 

Green with fresh holly, every pew a perch 

In which the linnet or the thrush might sing, 

Merry and loud and safe from prying search, 

Strains offered only to the genial Spring. 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 179 



3-34 

MUTABILITY 

FROM low to high doth dissolution climb, 

And sink from high to low, along a scale 

Of awful notes, whose concord shall not fail; 

A musical but melancholy chime, 

Which they can hear who meddle not with crime, 5 

Nor avarice, nor over-anxious care. 

Truth fails not; but her outward forms that bear 

The longest date do melt like frosty rime, 

That in the morning whitened hill and plain 

And is no more; drop like the tower sublime 10 

Of yesterday, which royally did wear 

His crown of weeds, but could not even sustain 

Some casual shout that broke the silent air, 

Or the unimaginable touch of Time. 



3-35 

OLD ABBEYS 

MONASTIC Domes! following my downward way, 

Untouched by due regret I marked your fall ! 

Now, ruin, beauty, ancient stillness, all 

Dispose to judgments temperate as we lay 

On our past selves in life's declining day: 5 

For as, by discipline of Time made wise, 

We learn to tolerate the infirmities 

And faults of others gently as he may, 

So with our own the mild Instructor deals, 

Teaching us to forget them or forgive. 10 

Perversely curious, then, for hidden ill 

Why should we break Time's charitable seals? 

Once ye were holy, ye are holy still; 

Your spirit freely let me drink, and live! 



180 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 



3-36 

EMIGRANT FRENCH CLERGY 

EVEN while I speak, the sacred roofs of France 

Are shattered into dust; and self-exiled 

From altars threatened, levelled, or denied, 

Wander the Ministers of God, as chance 

Opens a way for life, or consonance 5 

Of faith invites. More welcome to no land 

The fugitives than to the British strand, 

Where priest and layman with the vigilance 

Of true compassion greet them. Creed and test 

Vanish before the unreserved embrace 10 

Of catholic humanity: distrest 

They came, and, while the moral tempest roars 

Throughout the Country they have left, our shores 

Give to their Faith a fearless resting-place. 



3-37 

CONGRATULATION 

THUS all things lead to Charity, secured 

BY THEM who blessed the soft and happy gale 

That landward urged the great Deliverer's sail, 

Till in the sunny bay his fleet was moored! 

Propitious hour! had we, like them, endured 5 

Sore stress of apprehension, with a mind 

Sickened by injuries, dreading worse designed, 

From month to month trembling and unassured, 

How had we then rejoiced! But we have felt, 

As a loved substance, their futurity: 10 

Good, which they dared not hope for, we have seen; 

A State whose generous will through earth is dealt; 

A State which, balancing herself between 

Licence and slavish order, dares be free. 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 181 

3.38 

NEW CHURCHES 

BUT liberty, and triumphs on the Main, 

And laurelled armies, not to be withstood 

What serve they? if, on transitory good 

Intent, and sedulous of abject gain, 

The State (ah, surely not preserved in vain!) 5 

Forbear to shape due channels which the Flood 

Of sacred truth may enter till it brood 

O'er the wide realm, as o'er the Egyptian plain 

The all-sustaining Nile. No more the time 

Is conscious of her want; through England's bounds, 10 

In rival haste, the wished-for Temples rise! 

I hear their sabbath bells' harmonious chime 

Float on the breeze the heavenliest of all sounds 

That vale or hill prolongs or multiplies! 



3-39 

CHURCH TO BE ERECTED 

BE this the chosen site; the virgin sod, 

Moistened from age to age by dew r y eve, 

Shall disappear, and grateful earth receive 

The corner-stone from hands that build to God. 

Yon reverend hawthorns, hardened to the rod 5 

Of winter storms, yet budding cheerfully; 

Those forest oaks of Druid memory, 

Shall long survive, to shelter the Abode 

Of genuine Faith. Where, haply, 'mid this band 

Of daisies, shepherds sate of yore and wove ia 

May-garlands, there let the holy altar stand 

For kneeling adoration ; while above, 

Broods, visibly portrayed, the mystic Dove, 

That shall protect from blasphemy the Land. 



182 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 



340 

CONTINUED 

MINE ear has rung, my spirit sunk subdued, 

Sharing the strong emotion of the crowd, 

When each pale brow to dread hosannas bowed 

While clouds of incense mounting veiled the rood, 

That glimmered like a pine-tree dimly viewed 5 

Through Alpine vapours. Such appalling rite 

Our Church prepares not, trusting to the might 

Of simple truth with grace divine imbued; 

Yet will we not conceal the precious Cross, 

Like men ashamed: the Sun with his first smile 10 

Shall greet that symbol crowning the low Pile: 

And the fresh air of incense-breathing morn 

Shall wooingly embrace it; and green moss 

Creep round its arms through centuries unborn. 



341 

NEW CHURCH-YARD 

THE encircling ground, in native turf arrayed, 

Is now by solemn consecration given 

To social interests, and to favouring Heaven; 

And where the rugged colts their gambols played, 

And wild deer bounded through the forest glade, 5 

Unchecked as when by merry Outlaw driven, 

Shall hymns of praise resound at morn and even; 

And soon, full soon, the lonely Sexton's spade 

Shall wound the tender sod. Encincture small, 

But infinite its grasp of weal and woe! 10 

Hopes, fears, in never-ending ebb and flow ; 

The spousal trembling, and the 'dust to dust,' 

The prayers, the contrite struggle, and the trust 

That to the Almighty Father looks through all. 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 183 



342 

CATHEDRALS, ETC. 

OPEN your gates, ye everlasting Piles! 

Types of the spiritual Church which God hath reared; 

Not loth we quit the newly-hallowed sward 

And humble altar, 'mid your sumptuous aisles 

To kneel, or thrid your intricate defiles, 5 

Or down the nave to pace in motion slow; 

Watching, with upward eye, the tall tower grow 

And mount, at every step, with living wiles 

Instinct to rouse the heart and lead the will 

By a bright ladder to the world above. 10 

Open your gates, ye Monuments of love 

Divine! thou Lincoln, on thy sovereign hill! 

Thou, stately York! and Ye, whose splendours cheer 

Isis and Cam, to patient Science dear! 



343 

INSIDE OF KING'S COLLEGE CHAPEL, CAMBRIDGE 

TAX not the royal Saint with vain expense, 

With ill-matched aims the Architect who planned 

Albeit labouring for a scanty band 

Of white-robed Scholars only this immense 

And glorious Work of fine intelligence! 5 

Give all thou canst; high Heaven rejects the lore 

Of nicely-calculated less or more; 

So deemed the man who fashioned for the sense 

These lofty pillars, spread that branching roof 

Self-poised, and scooped into ten thousand cells, 10 

Where light and shade repose, where music dwells 

Lingering and wandering on as loth to die; 

Like thoughts whose very sweetness yieldeth proof 

That they were born for immortality. 



184 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

344 

THE SAME 

WHAT awful perspective! while from our sight 

With gradual stealth the lateral windows hide 

Their Portraitures, their stone-work glimmers, dyed 

In the soft chequerings of a sleepy light. 

Martyr, or King, or sainted Eremite, 5 

Whoe'er ye be, that thus, yourselves unseen, 

Imbue your prison-bars with solemn sheen, 

Shine on, until ye fade with coming Night! 

But, from the arms of silence list! O list! 

The music bursteth into second life; IO 

The notes luxuriate, every stone is kissed 

By sound, or ghost of sound, in mazy strife; 

Heart-thrilling strains, that cast, before the eye 

Of the devout, a veil of ecstasy! 



345 

CONTINUED 

THEY dreamt not of a perishable home 

Who thus could build. Be mine, in hours of fear 

Or grovelling thought, to seek a refuge here; 

Or through the aisles of Westminster to roam; 

Where bubbles burst, and folly's dancing foam 5 

Melts, if it cross the threshold; where the wreath 

Of awe-struck wisdom droops: or let my path 

Lead to that younger Pile, whose sky-like dome 

Hath typified by reach of daring art 

Infinity's embrace; whose guardian crest, 10 

The silent Cross, among the stars shall spread 

As now, when She hath also seen her breast 

Filled with mementos, satiate with its part 

Of grateful England's overflowing Dead. 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 185 



346 

EJACULATION 

GLORY to God! and to the Power who came 

In filial duty, clothed with love divine, 

That made His human tabernacle shine 

Like Ocean burning with purpureal flame; 

Or like the Alpine Mount, that takes its name 5 

From roseate hues, far kenned at morn and even, 

In hours of peace, or when the storm is driven 

Along the nether region's rugged frame ! 

Earth prompts Heaven urges; let us seek the light, 

Studious of that pure intercourse begun 10 

When first our infant brows their lustre won; 

So, like the Mountain, may we grow more bright 

From unimpeded commerce with the Sun, 

At the approach of all-involving night. 



347 

CONCLUSION 

WHY sleeps the future, as a snake enrolled, 

Coil within coil, at noon-tide? For the WORD 

Yields, if with unpresumptuous faith explored, 

Power at whose touch the sluggard shall unfold 

His drowsy rings. Look forth! that Stream behold, 5 

THAT STREAM upon whose bosom we have passed 

Floating at ease while nations have effaced 

Nations, and Death has gathered to his fold 

Long lines of mighty Kings look forth, my Soul! 

(Nor in this vision be thou slow to trust) 10 

The living Waters, less and less by guilt 

Stained and polluted, brighten as they roll, 

Till they have reached the eternal City built 

For the perfected Spirits of the just! 



VARIANT READINGS 

I have personally examined the readings in the following editions: 
1822 (Memorials of a Tour on the Continent, 1820, and Ecclesiastical 
Sketches'), 1827, 1832, 1835 (Yarrow Revisited), 1837, 1838, 1840, 
1841, 1842 (Poems, Chiefly of Early and Late Years), 1843, 1845, 
1846, 1850. 

The reading first given is the original reading of the text. 

When a line has been subject to change, the whole line is quoted. 

At the left of each line is given its number in the sonnet. 

At the left of, and preceding, the first line quoted is given the 
date of the original reading of the text. 

At the right of each line is given the date of the new reading, 
which is not quoted but is understood to be the final reading of 
1850, unless the date is starred. 

If the date is starred, one asterisk indicates a single intermediate 
reading; a double asterisk indicates a second intermediate reading. 

Below all the original readings of each sonnet are the intermediate 
readings of that sonnet; the final readings must be sought in the 
text of the present edition, pp. 120-85. 

Changes in spelling, capitalization, and punctuation are not 
noted. 

i.i 

1822.1 I, who descended with glad step to chase (until 1827) 

2 Cerulean Duddon from his cloud-fed spring, (until 1850) 

3 And of my wild Companion dared to sing, (until 1827) 

4 In verse that moved with strictly-measured pace; 

(until 1827) 

7 'Till the checked Torrent, fiercely combating, (until 1827) 

8 In victory found her natural resting-place; (until 1827) 
13 Where, for delight of him who tracks its course, (until 1837) 

For the early MS. reading, see the reproduction of F i.i, p. 81. 
In the edition of 1857 line 2 read as in the editions of 1822-1845. 

1.2 

The text has remained unchanged since 1822. For the early MS. 
readings, see the reproduction of F 1.2, pp. 81-2. 

1-3 

1822.2 As Menai's foam; and towards the mystic ring (until 1827) 
6 That, in the lapse of seasons, hath crept o'er (until 1827) 

186 



THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 187 

14 

1822. Title Druidical Excommunication, &c. (until 1827) 

12 And yon thick woods maintain the primal truth, 

(until 1827) 

13 Debased by many a superstitious form, (until 1827) 
For the early MS. reading, see the reproduction of F 1.4, p. 105. 



1822.5 Of silently departed ages crossed; (until 1827) 

9 Nor these, nor monuments of eldest fame, (until 1841) 

For the early MS. reading, see the reproduction of F 1.5, p. 82. 

1.6 

1822.7 Some pierced beneath the unavailing shield (until *i827) 
* 1 827. 7 Some pierced beneath the ineffectual shield (until 1838) 
For the early MS. reading, see the reproduction of F 1.6, p. 83. 



The text has remained unchanged since 1822. For the early MS. 
reading, see the reproduction of F 1.7, p. 101. 

1.8 
The text has remained unchanged since 1822. 

1.9 
1822.5 Lifting towards high Heaven her fiery brand, (until 1827) 

1. 10 

1822.3 The spirit of Caractacus defends (until 1837) 

4 The Patriots, animates their glorious task; (until 1837) 

I. II 

1822.11 Intent, as fields and woods have given them birth, 

(until 1827) 

12 To build their savage fortunes only there; (until 1827) 

13 Witness the foss, the barrow, and the girth (until 1827) 

14 Of many a long-drawn rampart, green and bare! 

(until 1827) 

1. 12 

1822.10 From their known course, or pass away like steam; 

(until 1827) 



188 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 



1822.4 Where Tiber's stream the glorious City laves; (until 1827) 

6 His wing who seemeth lovelier in Heaven's eye (until 1837) 

14 Sweet Hallelujahs to the eternal King! (until 1827) 

1.14 

The text has remained unchanged since 1822, except for *i838. 
*i838.8 Chanting in barbarous ears a holy prayer. (until 1840) 
9 Rich conquest over minds which they would free 

(until 1840) 
10 Awaits their coming: the tempestuous sea (until 1840) 

I-I5 

1822.10 Towards the Truths this Delegate propounds, 

(until 1832) 

1.16 

1822.2 "That, stealing in while by the fire you sit (until 1837) 

3 "Housed with rejoicing Friends, is seen to flit (until 1837) 

4 "Safe from the storm, in comfort tarrying. (until 1837) 
For the early MS. readings, see the reproduction of F 1.16, p. 84. 

1.17 

The text has remained unchanged since 1822. 

1.18 

1822.6 Then let the good be free to breathe a note (until 1827) 
9 Outshining nightly tapers, or the blaze (until 1837) 

1.19 
The text has remained unchanged since 1822. 

1.20 

1822.1 Ah, when the Frame, round which in love we clung, 

(until 1837) 
9 For those whose doom is fix'd ! The way is smooth 

(until 1832) 

1. 21 

1822.13 Yet, while they strangle without mercy, bring (until 1837) 
Knight (P. W., Eversley ed., 7.20) says: 'This and the two fol- 
lowing sonnets were published in Time's Telescope, July 2, 1823.' 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 189 

1.22 

1822.7 Thence creeping under forest arches cool, (until 1837) 
9 Perchance would throng my dreams. A beechen bowl, 

(until 1827) 
Published in Time's Telescope, July 2, 1823. See note on 1.21. 

1.23 

1822.4 The hovering Shade of venerable Bede; (until 1827) 

7 Of Learning, where he heard the billows beat (until 1827) 
In 1^50.1 there is a typographical error: meed for mead. Published 
in Time's Telescope, July 2, 1823. See note on 1.21. 

1.24 

1822.7 And peace, and equity. Bold faith! yet rise (until 1832) 

8 The sacred Towers for universal gains. (until 1827) 
For an early MS. reading similar in part, see the reproduction of 
F, p. 98. 

1.25 

1822.11 Nor leaves her speech wherewith to clothe a sigh 

(until 1827) 

13 With all their Arts while classic Lore glides on 

(until 1827) 

1.26 

1822.13 And Christian India gifts with Alfred shares (until 1827) 

14 By sacred converse link'd with India's clime, (until 1827) 

1.27 

1822.1 Can aught survive to linger in the veins (until 1837) 

2 Of kindred bodies an essential power (until 1837) 

3 That may not vanish in one fatal hour, (until 1837) 

4 And wholly cast away terrestrial chains? (until 1837) 

5 The race of Alfred covets glorious pains (until 1832) 

9 The root sincere the branches bold to thrive (until 1827) 
10 With the fierce storm; meanwhile, within the round 

(until 1827) 

1.28 

1822.12 So vaunt a throng of Followers, filled with pride 

(until *i838) 

13 In shows of virtue pushed to its extremes, (until 1837) 
* 1 838. 1 2 So vaunt a throng of Followers, swoln with pride 

(until 1840) 



190 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

1.29 

1822.2 Dissention checks the arms that would restrain 

(until 1837) 
4 And widely spreads once more a Pagan sway; (until 1837) 

1.30 

1822.6 He listen'd (all past conquests and all schemes 

(until 1827) 

9 The Royal TVIinstrel, ere the choir was still (until 1827) 
ii Gives to that rapture a memorial Rhyme. (until 1827) 



1822.3 Hark! 'tis the Curfew's knell! the stars may shine; 

(until 1827) 
14 Brings to Religion no injurious change. (until 1837) 

1.32 

1837.6 Though men be, there are angels that can feel 

(until *i838) 

* 1 838. 6 Though men be, there are angels who can feel 

(until 1840) 

1-33 
1822.10 Shout which the enraptured multitude astounded. 

(until 1827) 

12 "God willeth it," from hill to hill rebounded; (until 1827) 

13 Sacred resolve, in countries far and nigh, (until 1827) 

14 Through "Nature's hollow arch," that night, resounded! 

(until *i827) 
*i827.i4 Through "Nature's hollow arch" the voice resounds. 

(until 1837) 

1-34 

The text has remained unchanged since 1822. For the early MS. 
readings, see the reproduction of F 1.34, pp. 99, 101. 

1-35 
1822.6 Her blushing cheek, Love's vow upon her lip, (until 1827) 

13 Of those enthusiast powers a constant Friend, (until 1837) 

14 Through giddier heights hath clomb the Papal sway. 

(until 1837) 
1.36 

1822.9 With natural smile of greeting. Bells are dumb; 

(until *i838) 

* 1 838. 9 With natural smiles of greeting. Bells are dumb; 

(until **i84o) 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 191 

** 1 840.9 With natural smile of greeting. Bells are dumb; 

(until 1845) 
For the early MS. reading, see the reproduction of F 1.36, p. 92. 



The text has remained unchanged since 1822. For the early MS. 
reading, see the reproduction of F 1.37, p. 91. 

1.38 

The text has remained unchanged since 1822. For the early MS. 
readings, see the reproduction of F 1.38, pp. 93, 97. 

1-39 

The text has remained unchanged since 1822. For the early MS. 
reading, see the reproduction of F 1.39, p. 92. 

2.1 

The text has remained unchanged since 1845, when the sonnet 
was first published. Knight gives the following MS. readings (P. 
W., Eversley ed., 7.35-6): 

C.I Even when the state of man seems most secure 

2 And tempted least to deviate from the line 

3 Of simple duty, woeful forfeiture 

1 How difficult for man to keep the line 

2 Prescribed by duty! Happy once and pure 

1 Though Angels watched lest man should from the line 

2 Of duty sever, blest though he was, and pure 

3 In thought and "deed, a woeful forfeiture 

4 He made by wilful breach of law divine, 

5 The church of Christ how prompt was she to abjure 

6 Allegiance to her Lord how prone to twine 

5 The visible church how prone was she to abjure 

6 Allegiance to Christ's Kingdom and entwine 

7 With glorious flowers that shall for aye endure 

8 Weeds on whose front the world had fixed her sign. 

9 False man if with thy trials thus it fared 

10 If good can smooth the way to evil choice, 

11 From hasty answer be our minds kept free; 

12 He only judges right who weighs, compares, 

13 And, in the sternest sentence that his voice 

14 May utter, ne'er abandons charity. 



192 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 



2.2 

The text has remained unchanged since 1845, when the sonne^ 
was first published. Knight gives the following MS. reading (P. W.i 
Eversley ed., 7.37): 

A.I etc. On false assumption, though the Papal Power 

Rests, and spreads wide, beduped, by ignorance hailed, 
A darker empire must have else prevailed, 
For deeds of mischief strengthening every hour. 
Behold how thundering from her spiritual tower 
She daunts brute rapine, cruelty she tames. 
Justice and charity through her assert their claims, 
And chastity finds many a sheltering bower. 
Realm is there none that, if controlled or swayed 
By her commands, partakes not in degree 
Of good, on manners arts and arms diffused: 
To mock thy exaltation, Roman See, 
And to the Autocracy, howe'er abused 
Through blind ambition, be this tribute paid. 

2-3 

1822.2 "More promptly rises, walks with nicer heed, (until 1837) 
9 Doubtless shall cheat full oft the heart's desire; 

(until 1827) 
2.4 

The text has remained unchanged since 1835, when the sonnet 
was first published, with 2.12 and 2.13, in the volume entitled 
Yarrow Revisited and Other Poems. 



2-5 

atio 
* 1 838. 6 Whose earnest exhortations from afar (until 1840 



1822.6 Whose fervent exhortations from afar (until *i838< 



2.6 

1822.5 Down to the humble Altar, which the Knight (until 1837) 
12 And suffering under many a doubtful wound, (until 1827) 

2.7 
The text has remained unchanged since 1822. 

2.8 

1822.1 Nor can Imagination quit the shores (until 1845) 

2 Of these bright scenes without a farewell glance 

(until 1845) 

3 Given to those dream-like Issues that Romance 

(until *i837) 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 193 

4 Of many-colored life which Fortune pours (until 1837) 
13 When she would tell how Good, and Brave, and Wise, 

(until 1837) 
*i837-3 Given to the dream-like issues the romance (until 1845) 

2.9 

The text has remained unchanged since 1845, when the sonnet 
was first published. 

2.10 

The text has remained unchanged since 1845, when the sonnet 
was first published. Knight gives the following MS. readings (P. W., 
Eversley ed., 7.43) : 

C.3 Blighted and scathed tho' many branches be, 

4 Can never cease to bear and ripen fruit 

5 Worthy of Heaven. This law is absolute. 

6 Behold the Church that often with effect 

7 Dear to the Saints doth labouring to eject 

6 The Church not seldom surely with effect 

7 Dear to the Saints doth labour to eject 

8 Her bane, her vital energy recruit. 

9 So Providence ordains and why repine 

10 If this good work is doomed to be undone, 
12 Trust that the promises vouchsafed will shine 
14 ... thro' . . . 

2. II 

1822.9 This Valdo brook'd not. On the banks of Rhone 

(until 1837) 
12 Nor were his Followers loth to seek defence, (until 1837) 

2.12 

The text has remained unchanged since 1835, when the sonnet 
was first published, with 2.4 and 2.13, in the volume entitled 
Yarrow Revisited and Other Poems. 

2.13 

See the note on 2.12 for the circumstances of publication. 
1835.5 Nor be unthanked their tardiest lingerings (until 1837) 

6 'Mid reedy fens wide-spread and marshes drear, 

(until 1837) 

7 Their own creation, till their long career (until 1837) 

8 End in the sea engulphed. Such welcomings (until 1837) 

9 As came from mighty Po when Venice rose, (until 1837) 
10 Greeted those simple Heirs of truth divine (until 1837) 
12 Yet were prepared as glorious lights to shine, (until *i837) 

14 



194 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

14 Blest Prisoners They, whose spirits are at large! 

^ (until 1838) 
*i837.i2 Yet came prepared as glorious lights to shine, 

(until **i838) 
**i838.i2 Yet well prepared as glorious lights to shine, 

(until 1840) 
2.14 

1822.1 These who gave earliest notice, as the Lark (until *i837) 

3 Who rather rose the day to antedate, (until 1838) 

6 These Harbingers of good, whom bitter hate (until *i838) 

7 In vain endeavoured to exterminate, (until 1838) 

8 Fell Obloquy pursues with hideous bark? v (until 1840) 

9 Meanwhile the unextinguishable fire, (until 1827) 
* 1 837. i These who gave early notice, as the lark (until **i838) 

**i838.i These had given earliest notice, as the lark (until 1845) 
* 1 838. 6 At length came those Waldensian bands whom Hate 

(until **i84o) 
**i84O.6 At length come those Waldensian bands whom Hate 

(until 1845) 

For the early MS. readings, see the' reproduction of F 2.14, pp. 
100, 109. 

2.15 

The text has remained unchanged since 1822. For the early MS. 
reading, see the reproduction of F 2.15, p. 85. 

2.16 

1822.7 But mark the dire effect in coming years! (until 1827) 

8 Deep, deep as hell itself, the future draught (until 1827) 

13 And, under cover of that woeful strife, (until 1827) 

2.17 

The text has remained unchanged since 1822. For the early MS. 
reading, see the reproduction of F 2.17, p. 88. 

2.18 
The text has remained unchanged since 1822. 

2.19 

1822.7 And robs the People of his daily care, (until 1827) 

8 Scorning their wants because her arm is strong? 

(until 1827) 

9 Inversion strange! that to a Monk, who lives (until 1827) 

12 And hath allotted, in the world's esteem, (until *i827) 

13 To such a station higher than to him (until 1827) 
*i827.i2 That to a Monk allots, in the esteem (until 1845) 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 195 

2. 2O 

1822.9 To stay the precious waste. In every brain (until 1832) 

10 Spreads the dominion of the sprightly juice, (until 1832) 

1 1 Through the wide world to madding Fancy dear, 

(until 1832) 

2.21 
The text has remained unchanged since 1822. 

2.22 

1822.5 Goes forth unveiling timidly her cheek (until 1837) 
7 While through the Convent gate to open view (until 1837) 

1822.10 has a typographical error: Apparitition for Apparition. 
It was corrected in 1827. 

2.23 

1822.1 Yet some, Noviciates of the cloistral shade, (until 1838) 
2 Or chained by vows, with undissembled glee (until 1838) 

2.24 
The text has remained unchanged since 1822. 

2.25 

1822.7 an d 8 have what are presumably typographical^ errors: 
Noon for moon, and wain for wane. These were corrected in 1827. 
Otherwise the text has remained unchanged since 1822. For an 
early MS. reading of lines 7-8, see the reproduction of F 1.2, p. 82. 
Knight, P. W., Eversley ed., 7.55: 'This sonnet was published in 
Time's Telescope, July 2, 1823, p. 136.' 

2.26 
The text has remained unchanged since 1822. 

2.27 
1822.13 'Mid phantom lakes bemocking thirsty men, (until 1837) 

2.28 

1822.5 With farewell sighs of mollified disdain, (until 1827) 

For the early MS. readings, see the reproduction of F 2.28, pp. 
85, 95- 

2.29 
The text has remained unchanged since 1822. 



196 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

2.30 

1827.2 Than that pure Faith dissolve the bonds of Sense; 

(until 1832) 

3 The Soul restored to God by evidence (until 1832) 

6 That Faith, which to the Patriarchs did dispense 

(until 1832) 
9 That Faith, more perfect still, with which the Lord 

(until 1832) 

2.31 

1822.2 Time-honoured Chaucer when he framed the lay 

(until *i8 3 7) 
* 1 837. 2 Time-honoured Chaucer when he framed that Lay 

(until 1845) 

2.32 
The text has remained unchanged since 1822. 

2-33 

1827.1 Melts into silent shades the Youth, discrowned 

(until 1832) 

4 They cast, they cast with joy upon the ground 

(until 1832) 

2-34 

The text has remained unchanged since 1827, when the sonnet was 
first published. 

2.35 
1822.1 Outstretching flameward his upbraiding hand (until 1827) 

7 To the bare head, the victory complete; (until 1837) 
9 Answering with more than Indian fortitude, (until 1837) 

1 1 Now wrapt in flames and now in smoke embowered 

(until 1827) 

12 'Till self-reproach and panting aspirations (until 1827) 

13 Are, with the heart that held them, all devoured; 

(until 1827) 

14 The Spirit set free, and crown'd with joyful acclamations! 

(until 1827) 
For the early MS. reading, see the reproduction of F 2.35, p. 106. 

2.36 

The text has remained unchanged since 1822. For the early MS. 
reading, see the reproduction of F 2.36, p. 102. 

2.37 

1822.9 With prurient speculations rashly sown, (until 1827) 

For the early MS. reading, see the reproduction of F 2.37, p. 95. 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 197 

2.38 

1822.9 Meanwhile, by prudence ruled, glides slowly on; 

(until 1827) 

12 For, wheresoe'er she moves, the clouds anon (until 1845) 

13 Disperse; or under a Divine constraint (until 1845) 

14 Reflect some portion of her glorious light! (until 1845) 
For the early MS. readings, see the reproduction of F 2.38, p. 
103. 

2.39 

1822.7 The Donor's farewell blessing, could he dread (until 1827) 
For the early MS. readings, see the reproduction of F 2.39, p. 89. 

2.40 

1822.1 Holy and heavenly Spirits as they were, (until 1827) 

3 With what entire affection did they prize (until 1827) 

4 Their new-born Church! labouring with earnest care 

(until 1845) 

5 To baffle all that might her strength impair; (until 1827) 
10 In polity and discipline they sought (until 1827) 

For the early MS. reading, see the reproduction of F 2.40, p. 104. 

2.41 

1822.13 The Throne is plagued; the New-born Church is sad 

(until 1827) 

2.42 

The text has remained unchanged since 1822. For the early MS. 
reading, see the reproduction of F 2.42, p. 99. 

2-43 

The text has not been changed from its reading in the Ecclesiastical 
Sketches, 1822. This same year, however, it was also published in 
Memorials of a Tour on the Continent, 1820; and there line 1 1 read 
as follows: 

Blasts of tempestuous smoke, with which he tries 
For the early MS. reading, see the reproduction of F 2.43, pp. 86-7. 

2.44 

1822.1 Such contrast, in whatever track we move, (until *i827) 
*i827.i Such is the contrast, which, where'er we move (until 1832) 
For the early MS. reading, see the reproduction of F 2.44, pp. 87-8. 



198 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

245 
1822.1 Pursued by Hate, debarred from friendly care; 

(until 1827) 
3 Long "in the painful art of dying" tried, (until 1827) 

6 To stir in useless struggle) Laud relied (until 1827) 

7 Upon the strength which Innocence supplied (until 1827) 

8 And in his prison breathed celestial air. (until 1827) 

246 
1822.10 As good men wept beholding King and Priest (until 1827) 



1822.5 Substance she seem'd (and that my heart betrayed, 

(until 1837) 

3-2 

1822.1 Last night, without a voice, this Vision spake (until 1845) 

2 Fear to my Spirit passion that might seem (until *i837) 

3 To lie dissevered from our present theme; (until 1827) 

4 Yet do I love my Country and partake (until 1832) 

5 Of kindred agitations for her sake; (until 1832) 

6 She visits oftentimes my midnight dream; (until 1832) 

7 Her glory meets me with the earliest beam (until 1832) 
9 If aught impair her beauty or destroy, (until '1832) 

12 If she hath fallen and righteous Heaven restore 

(until 1832) 

*i837.2 Fear to my Soul, and sadness that might seem (until 1845) 
In 1840.7 there seems to be a typographical error: oft has been 
inserted between me and with. For an early MS. reading, see the 
reproduction of F 3.2, lines 10-14, P- 95- 

3-3 
1822.10 Already stands our Country $>n the brink (until 1837) 

11 Of bigot rage, that all distinction levels (until 1837) 

12 Of truth and falsehood, swallowing the good name, 

(until 1837) 

For the early MS. readings, see the reproduction of F 3.3, pp. 
94> 95- 

34 
The text has remained unchanged since 1822. 

3-5 
1822.10 Apart like glow-worms in the woods of spring, 

(until 1827) 
II Or lonely tapers shooting far a light (until 1827) 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 199 

12 That guides and cheers, or seen, like stars on high, 

(until 1827) 

In 1827 this sonnet was taken from its place before Clerical Integrity 
and inserted after 'Down a swift Stream, thus far, a bold design.' 
It was not restored until 1845. 

3-6 

1822.5 And some to want as if by tempest wreck'd (until 1837) 
1832.13 has a typographical error: self-edceiving for self-deceiving. 
It was corrected in 1837. 

3-7 

The text has remained unchanged since 1827, when the sonnet 
was first published. 

3-8 

1822.1 A voice, from long-expectant thousands sent, (until 1827) 

10 With outstretched hands and earnest voice in vain! 

(until 1827) 

3-9 
1822.5 (By constant impulse of religious awe (until 1845) 

1 1 And while he marches on with righteous hope, (until 1845) 
In the editions of 1845 and 1850 line 5 was erroneously punctuated: 

(Swerves not, how blest if by religious awe 

For an early MS. reading, see the reproduction of F 3.9, lines 4-8, 
p. 96. 

3.10 

The text has remained unchanged since 1822, except for the cor- 
rection of a typographical error: lings in 1822.13 to clings in 
1827.13. 

3-H 

1827.7 Mingling their Light with graver flatteries, (until 1832) 
In 1827 this sonnet was inserted before Places of Worship. There 
it remained until 1845, when it was removed to its present place. 

3.12 

This sonnet was first published in 1822, as one of the Memorials of 
a Tour on the Continent, 1820. There the text read as follows: 

Sonnet 
Author's Voyage Down the Rhine (Thirty Years Ago) 

The confidence of Youth our only Art, 
And Hope gay Pilot of the bold design, 
We saw the living Landscapes of the Rhine, 
Reach after reach, salute us and depart; 



200 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

Slow sink the Spires, and up again they start! 
But who shall count the Towers as they recline 
O'er the dark steeps, or on the horizon line 
Striding, with shattered crests, the eye athwart? 
More touching still, more perfect was the pleasure, 
When hurrying forward till the slack'ning stream 
Spread like a spacious Mere, we there could measure 
A smooth free course along the watery gleam, 
Think calmly on the past, and mark at leisure 
Features which else had vanished like a dream. 

After thorough revision, it was republished in 1827 with Ecclesi- 
astical Sketches, where Wordsworth inserted it to follow Obligations 
of Civil to Religious Liberty; in the rearrangement of 1845 it was 
finally placed between Sacheverel and Aspects of Christianity in 
America. The disappearance of the sonnet from Memorials of a 
Tour on the Continent, 1820, subsequent to 1822, gave rise to the 
belief that it had never been reprinted. Professor Lane Cooper 
was the first to indicate its relation to Eccl. Son: See Wordsworth: 
Variant Readings, in Notes and Queries n S. ii. 222 (September 17, 
1910). 

1827.8 Striding with shattered crests the eye athwart. 

(until *i838) 

14 Features that else had vanished like a dream (until 1845) 
*i838.8 Striding with shattered crests his eye athwart. 

(until **i84o) 
**i84o.8 Striding with shattered crests the eye athwart. 

(until 1845) 

Knight gives the following MS. reading (P. W., Eversley ed., 7.83): 
C.I3 . . . sound at leisure 

14 The depths, and mark the compass of our theme. 
For the early MS. reading, see the reproduction of F 3.12, p. 90. 

3-13, I4> 15 

The text has remained unchanged since 1842, when the sonnets 
were first published in the volume entitled Poems, Chiefly of Early 
and Late Years. For an unprinted sub-title to 3.14, see p. 31. 

3-16 

The text has remained unchanged since 1845, when the sonnet 
was first published. MS. E gives an early reading of line I : 

Bishops and Priests, how blest are Ye if deep 

3-17 
The text has remained unchanged since 1822. 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 201 

3-18 

The text has remained unchanged since 1822. For the early MS. 
reading, see the reproduction of F 3.18, p. 93. 

3.19 
1822.4 Distinct with signs, through which in fixed career, 

(until; 837) 
9 Enough for us to cast a transient glance (until *E) 

10 The circle through; relinquishing its story (until *E) 

1 1 For those whom Heaven hath fitted to advance (until *E) 

12 And, harp in hand, rehearse the King of Glory 

(until *E) 
*E.9 Upon that circle, traced from ancient story, (until 1845) 

10 There let us cast a more than transient glance; 

(until 1845) 

11 With harp in hand endeavour to advance, (until 1845) 

12 And mind intent upon the King of Glory (until 1845) 

For the early MS. reading, see the reproduction of F 3.19, p. 98. 
Knight gives the following MS. readings (P. W., Eversley ed., 7.89) : 

C-9 Enough for us to cast no careless glance 

10 Upon that circle, leaving Christian story 

11 To those . . . has . . . 

C-9 Here let us cast a more than Transient glance, 

10 And harp in hand endeavour to advance, 

11 With mind intent ... 

3.20 

1827.1 Blest be the Church that, watching o'er the needs 

(until 1845) 
4 The sinful product of a bed of Weeds! (until 1832) 

3.21 

The text has remained unchanged since 1832, when the sonnet 
was first published. Knight gives the following MS. reading, 
which he says was cfated Dec. 7, 1827 (P. W., Eversley ed., 7.90-1): 

3.4 . . . yet more sensitive, 

5 More faithful, thou, a second Mother, 

7 Watched at all seasons, and with industry 
9 ... Benign must be 

12 ... "Assurance doubly sure." 

14 ... the Name an empty sound. 

3.22 
The text has remained unchanged since 1822. 



202 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

3-23 

The text has remained unchanged since 1827, when the sonnet 
was first published. 

3-24 
1827.8 And such vibration to the Mother went (until 1837) 

3-25 

1827.3 Brings to thy food, memorial Sacrament! (until 1845) 

9 Here must my Song in timid reverence pause: (until 1845) 

10 But shrink not ye whom to the saving rite (until 1845) 

Knight gives the following MS. reading (P. W., Eversley ed., 7.93): 

B.2 ... to ... 

3-26 

The text has remained unchanged since 1845, when the sonnet 
was first published. Knight gives the following MS. reading (P. W., 
Eversley ed., 7.94): 

C.2 Together they kneel down who come in sight 

3 Of God and chosen friends their troth to plight. 

4 This have they done, by words, and prayers, and hands 
This sonnet appears also in MS. E, with the reading of the text 
of 1845. 

3-27 

The text has remained unchanged since 1845, when the sonnet was 
first published. The sonnet appears in MS. E, with the reading 
of the text. 

3-28 

The text has remained unchanged since 1845, when the sonnet was 
first published. The sonnet appears in MS. E, with the reading 
of the text. 

3-29 

The text has remained unchanged since 1845, when the sonnet was 
first published. Knight gives the following MS. reading (P. W., 
Eversley ed., 7.96) : 

C.2 ... as dealing 

3 With human curses, banish the false feeling. 

4 Go thou . . . terrors . . . 

This sonnet appears also in MS. E, with the reading of the text 

of 1845. 

3-30 

The text has remained unchanged since 1845, when the sonnet 

was first published. An early reading of lines 9-10 occurs in MS. E: 
In vain who reverentially give breath 
To words that Church prescribes aiding the lip 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 203 

3-31 

The text has remained unchanged since 1845, when the sonnet 
was first published. MS. E has the following reading for line 2: 
The Church attends her care to thought and deed; 

3-32 

1822.1 With smiles each happy face was overspread, 

(until *i827) 

2 That trial ended. Give we to a day (until *i82y) 

3 Of festal joy one tributary lay; (until 1827) 

4 That day when forth by rustic music led (until 1827) 
*l827.i Content with calmer scenes around us spread (until 1845) 

2 And humbler objects, give we to a day (until 1845) 

Knight gives the following MS. reading (P. W., Eversley ed., 7.98) : 

C.I ... precious Book . . . 

MS. E gives directions for altering the first two lines for the edition 
of 1845. 

3-33 

1822.5 Giving the Memory help when she would weave 

(until 1845) 

3-34 

1822.2 And sinks from high to low, along a scale (until 1840) 
12 Its crown of weeds, but could not even sustain 

(until 1837) 

For the early MS. reading, see the reproduction of F 3.34, p. 108. 

3-35 

1822.8 And faults of others, gently as he may, (until *i837) 

9 Towards our own the mild Instructor deals, (until 1837) 

* 1 837. 8 And faults of others so, where'er he may (until 1845) 

For the early MS. reading, see the reproduction of F 3.35, p. 106. 

3.36 
1827.14 Give to their Faith a dreadless resting-place, (until 1837) 

3-37 
The text has remained unchanged since 1822. 

3.38 
1822.14 That hill or vale prolongs or multiplies! (until 1837) 

3-39 
1822.11 May-garlands, let the holy Altar stand (until 1838) 



204 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

340 

1822.1 Mine ear has rung, my spirits sunk subdued, (until 1827) 

341 

1822.10 But infinite its grasp of joy and woe! (until *i832) 

*i832.io But infinite in grasp of weal and woe! (until 1837) 

For the early MS. reading, see the reproduction of F 3.41, p. 108. 

342 

1822.7 Watching, with upward eyes, the tall tower grow 

(until 1827) 

Knight, P. W., Eversley ed., 7.105: 'This sonnet was published in 
Time's Telescope, September 1823, p. 260.' 

343 
The text has remained unchanged since 1822. 

344 

1822.2 Their portraiture the lateral windows hide, (until 1827) 

3 Glimmers their corresponding stone-work, dyed 

(until 1827) 

4 With the soft checquerings of a sleepy light, (until 1827) 
For the early MS. reading, see the reproduction of F 344, p. 107. 

345 
The text has remained unchanged since 1822. 

346 
The text has remained unchanged since 1822. 

347 
1822.10 (Nor in that vision be thou slow to trust) (until 1827) 



NOTES 

[Wordsworth himself has directed students to Stillingfleet, Bede, Daniel, 
Fuller, Turner, Whitaker, Foxe, Walton, Strype, Hume, Burnet, and Dyer: 
his notes are quoted from the Poetical Works, Oxford edition. Where 
other obligations occur, they will be acknowledged in detail. The spelling 
and punctuation of prose passages have generally been modernized. Sec- 
ondary references are usually not given unless there is reason to believe 
that Wordsworth was familiar with them. The number in bold-faced 
type at the left of the note indicates the line or lines concerned.] 

I.I 

1-14 Enough has been said (pp. 62-78) to relate Wordsworth's 
design of a holy river to one of the main figures of Biblical and 
classical literature, and to Wordsworth's own previous experience, 
both personal and artistic. Cf. the following references for evi- 
dence that when he turned to the opening pages of his immediate 
sources he found a like figure dominating the material or introducing 
the theme: Bede, Eccl. Hist., tr. by Sellar, pp. 5-6; Geoffrey of 
Monmouth, Hist. Brit., ed. by Giles in Six Old English Chronicles, 
p. 90; Camden, Brit., introductory poem; Daniel, Works, ed. by 
Grosart, 4.86; Heylin, Cyp. AngL, p. 43; Fuller, Holy War, Epistle 
Dedicatory; Dray ton, Polyolbion, Argument to the First Song; 
Milton, P. L. 1.10-13; Dyer, Hist. Camb. i.vi-vii. Cf. also Lamb's 
note on Drayton, in Works, ed. by Macdonald, 9.120; and refer to 
Osgood, Spenser's English Rivers, in the Trans. Conn. Acad. Arts 
and Sciences 23.65-108, January, 1920. 

Wordsworth begins his series in the first person, as do Virgil, 
Dante, and Spenser; he is descriptive, as is Chaucer; he is remi- 
niscent, as are Homer and Virgil; allegorical, with Dante and 
Spenser; and although his theme and method and design differ 
from those of Milton, the same lofty aim is at once apparent. 

To supplement what has hitherto been said of the structure of 
Eccl. Son., Dray ton's dedication of Polyolbion may be used as a 
motto (lines 4, 10): 

Who, by that virtue of the treble trine . . . 

And rule three realms with triple power, like Jove. 

The 'three realms' which Wordsworth celebrates in Eccl. Son. i.i 
are the natural, the human, and the divine. His series, The River 
Duddon, had been published in May, 1820; the Poems Dedicated to 
National Independence and Liberty, referred to in lines 5-8, were 
composed at intervals from 1802 to 1837, and first appeared as a 
group in 1815. Eccl. Son. were to constitute the third series. 

205 



206 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

And not only is the third series a poem of 'three realms,' and a 
'treble trine,' but the first sonnet of it prefigures the tripartite 
grouping of the whole, and the sestet has a triple decoration, 
'pastoral flowers,' 'laurel,' 'amaranth and palms,' a probable 
reference to the three functions of the church, its human service, 
its political responsibility, and its immortal aim. . In 1816 Words- 
worth had written a similar passage (Ode 1814 37-52). 

2 'Cerulean,' a word usually applied by Wordsworth to the 
ether and to the sky, is here applied to the Duddon. Cf. also 
Desc. Seen. Lakes, Prose Works 2.41 and 44, and Journals 2.200. 

3, 4 'Ruled by his' and 'boon Nature's grace' constitute a 
prelude to 'meek doctrines' (1.3.8) and 'the pure spirit of celestial 
light' (34-12). 

4 Cf. Virgil, Georg. 2.485-6. 

6 'Plausive string' recalls the 'plausive smile' of Phoebus in 
Malham 8, a sonnet mentioned in the Introduction (footnote p. 8) 
as a link between Excursion and Eccl. Son. 

9-14 The allegorical significance of these lines, undeniable in 
'laurel,' 'amaranth,' and 'palms,' is probable in 'pastoral flowers' 
as well. The fundamental conception of 'source' in Wordsworth's 
mind may be sought from the adjectives usual to this word in his 
poems (Cooper, Concordance to the Poems of W. W., p. 903). They 
are: far deeper, still deeper, inexhaustible, nobler, loftier, precious, 
pure, unquestionable, sad, invisible, pure and holy, abundant, 
sacred, higher, profound, humane and heavenly, humble, marvel- 
lous, pure, feeding, primal, dread, happiest. And hence it is clear 
that, however aware Wordsworth was of the 'fontis sacros' (Virgil, 
EC. 1.52), of the 'fontis integros' (Lucretius, De Rer. Nat. 1.927), 
of the 'fons Bandusiae' (Horace, Carm. 3.13.1), even of 'Helicon's 
harmonious springs' (Gray, Progress of Poesy 1.1.3), tne source of 
the holy river had been throughout his poetry such a source as the 
fountain of Psalm 36.9: 'For with thee is the fountain of life: in 
thy light shall we see light.' 

ii Virgil, EC. 9.40-1, 8.13; Spenser, F. Q. 1.1.9.1-2. 

14 Milton, P. L. 3-353-9- 

Immortal Amarant, a Flour which once 

In Paradise, fast by the Tree of Life 

Began to bloom, but soon for mans offence 

To Heav'n remov'd where first it grew, there grows, 

And flours aloft shading the Fount of Life, 

And where the river of Bliss through midst of Heaven 

Rowls o're Elisian Flours her Amber stream. 

Cf. Misc. Son. 1.35; and Charlotte Smith's Elegiac Sonnets and 
Other Poems, pp. 20, 48: 'fair Friendship's amaranth,' and 

Let thy loved hand with palm and amaranth strew 

The mournful path approaching to the tomb, 

While Faith's consoling voice endears the friendly gloom. 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 207 

1.2 

1-5 Two early versions of the first part of this sonnet in MS. F 
(pp. 81-2) indicate that one source may be Drayton's Polyolbion. 
Cf . the latter (Upon the Frontispiece) : 

Through a Triumphant Arch, see Albion plac'd, 
In Happy site, in Neptune 's arms embrac'd, 
In Power and Plenty, on her Cleevy Throne 
Circled with Nature's Garlands, being alone 
Styl'd th' Ocean's Island; 

and (i.i, 7, 31-4, 41-2): 

Of Albion's glorious Isle the wonders whilst I write, . . . 
What help shall I invoke to aid my Muse the^ while? . . . 
Ye sacred Bards, that to your harp's melodious strings 
Sung th' ancient Heroes' deeds (the monuments of Kings) 
And in your dreadful verse ingrav'd the prophecies, 
The aged world's descents, and genealogies; . . . 
I could have wish'd your spirits redoubled in my breast, 
To give my verse applause, to time's eternal rest. 

1-2 Fuller's account of 'the Bards (Ch. Hist. 1.6-7) contains a 
suggestion for 'prophets . . . past things,' and for the title, 
Conjectures: 'The Bards were next to the Druids in regard, and 
played excellently to their songs on their harps; whereby they had 
great operation on the vulgar, surprising them into civility una- 
wares, they greedily swallowing whatsoever was sweetened with 
music. These also, to preserve their ancestors from corruption, 
embalmed their memories in rhyming verses, which looked both 
backward in their relations, and forward in their predictions; so 
that their confidence, meeting with the credulity of others, advanced 
their wild conjectures to the reputation of prophecies. 1 

3-5 Miss Melville (Essay 1 ) has suggested that Wordsworth 
was indebted to the works of Edward Davies. Cf. the latter's 
Mythology and Rites of the British Druids, p. 142: 'The Druids 
represented the deluge under the figure of a lake; . . . the deluge 
itself was viewed not merely as an instrument of punishment . . . 
but also as a divine lustration, which washed away the bane of 
corruption, and purified the earth for the reception of the just ones, 
or of the deified patriarch [Noah] and his family. Consequently, 
it was deemed peculiarly sacred, and communicated its distin- 
guishing character to those lakes and bays by which it was locally 
represented.' 

5-8 Wordsworth, note on Eccl. Son. 1.2: ' Stillingfleet adduces 
many arguments in support of this opinion, but they are uncon- 
vincing.' Cf. Stillingfleet, Orig. Brit., p. 37: 'Eusebius affirms 

1 An Introduction to the Ecclesiastical Sonnets of Wordsworth, with Notes 
on the First Fifteen. A Thesis presented to the Faculty of the Graduate 
School of Cornell University for the degree of Master of Arts (1914) by 
Georgina Melville. Typewritten manuscript in Cornell University Library. 



208 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

. . . that some of the Apostles preached the Gospel in the British 
Islands. . . . Much to the same purpose Theodoret speaks, 
another learned and judicious church historian. For among the 
nations converted by the Apostles, he expressly names the Britons; 
and elsewhere saith that St. Paul brought salvation to the Islands 
that lie in the Ocean, after he had mentioned Spain, and therefore 
in all probability the British Islands are understood by him.' 

9-10 Stillingfleet (ibid., pp. 37-48) discusses at length the right 
of St. Paul or of St. Peter to be known as the founder of Christianity 
in Britain. After rejecting the evidence of Simeon Metaphrastes 
and Eysengrenius, who decide for St. Peter, he concludes (ibid., 
p. 48) 'that the Christian Church in Britain was rather founded 
by St. Paul than by St. Peter or any other Apostle.' Cf. Acts 
12.7, as Miss Melville notes (Essay). 

11-12 Wordsworth, note on Eccl. Son. 1.2: 'The latter part of 
this sonnet refers to a favorite notion of Roman Catholic writers, 
that Joseph of Arimathea and his companions brought Christianity 
into Britain, and built a rude church at Glastonbury; alluded to 
hereafter, in a passage upon the dissolution of monasteries.' Cf. 
Stillingfleet, op. cit., p. 3: 'Baronius . . . [says] that Joseph of 
Arimathea did bear them company, and came over into Britain to 
preach the Gospel.' 'Them' refers to Lazarus, Mary Magdalen, 
Martha, and Marcella, whom Baronius supposes to have come to 
Marseilles in a ship without oars (ibid.). 

12-13 Melville, Essay: 'Cup of woe. An allusion to the tra- 
dition that Joseph had charge of the cup from which our Lord 
drank at the Last Supper, i.e., the Holy Grail.' 

14 Stillingfleet (op. cit., p. 17) quotes the Monasticon in regard 
to the charter of King Ine, but challenges this document, which 
'makes the church at Glastonbury, dedicated to Christ and the 
Blessed Virgin, to be the Fountain of all Religion, and the first in 
the kingdom of Britain.' He concludes: 'I see no ground to 
believe that . . . Joseph of Arimathea . . . had ever been there' 
(ibid., p. 26). 

1-3 

I Wordsworth, note on Eccl. Son. 1.3: 'This water-fowl was, 
among the Druids, an emblem of those traditions connected with 
the deluge that made an important part of their mysteries. The 
cormorant was a bird of bad omen.' Cf. Desc. Seen. Lakes, Prose 
Works 2.367. Miss Melville (Essay) cites Davies (Mythology and 
Rites, p. 510) for a translation of Taliesin, 'I knew the eminently 
white sea-mew in Dinbych,' and the pertinent note, 'By the de- 
scription which is given of this sea-mew, it is evident he was no 
other than the hierophant, or chief Druid.' Cf. Drayton's 'un- 
numbered fowl' (Polyolbion 1.73-4): 

Some, rising like a storm from off the troubled sand, 
Some in their hovering flight to shadow all the land. 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 209 

Charlotte Smith, too, refers to 'ospreys, cormorants, and sea-mews' 
(Elegiac Son., p. 51). 

2 Wordsworth describes such ' mystic rings ' in Desc. Seen. Lakes, 
Prose Works 2.49, note I, relating them to Stonehenge and Long 
Meg and her Daughters as a 'rural chapel' is related to a 'stately 
church' or 'noble cathedral.' Cf. the proximity of Long Meg and 
her Daughters to King's College Chapel in MS. F (pp. 104-7). 

3 Davies, Mythology and Rites, p. 39: 'And how can these 
Bards be said never to have troubled themselves with futurity? The 
first of Meugant's poems opens in the high prophetic style Dydd 
dyvydd "The day will come," and speaks of the Druids as true 
prophets.' 

4 Ibid., p. 512: 'A cormorant approaches me with long wings. 
She assaults the top of the stone with her hoarse clamor. There 
is wrath in the fates! Let it burst through the stones!' Cf. 
Charlotte Smith, Elegiac Son., p. 17, lines 9-10: 

No bird, ill-omen'd, round thy graceful head 
Shall clamour harsh, or wave his heavy wing. 

Cf. Milton, P. L. .4.196. 

5 Davies' note (op cit., p. 512) is the source: 'The cormorant, 
a bird of ill omen, denounces an approaching persecution.' 

67 The words 'diluvian' and 'patriarchal' occur frequently in 
Davies' book (op. cit., Preface, p. vii, and pp. 117, 121, 122, 145). 
Cf. his Celtic Researches on the Origin, Traditions, and Language of 
the Ancient Britons, 1804, p. 119: 'The religion of the patriarchs 
had, indeed, been deformed with various superstitions, by all 
nations. But this order, notwithstanding their many and gross 
errors, appear to have retained many of its vital and essential 
principles.' Cf. also passages in Thomas Burnet's Sacred Theory 
of the Earth, e.g., 1.292-3. 

8-9 'Meek' is the adjective applied to Herbert, father of 
Idonea, to Cordelia, daughter of Lear, to Mary Wordsworth, to 
the Armenian Lady, to the dove, to the daisy, to an infant, to the 
ass that bore a cross, to Isaak Walton, to the loveliness of Yarrow 
visited, to womanhood, to the Due d'Enghien, to the Bard, to the 
virgin, to Michelangelo's face of Christ, to the Egyptian Maid, 
to Columba, to Una, to the milk-white lamb, to Emily, to the nun, 
to evening, to the moon, to innocency, to Rydal Chapel, to Grace 
Darling, to John Wordsworth, to Worth, to Coleridge, to Michel 
Beaupuy, to the glow-worm, to the Wanderer, to repentance, to 
lonely reading. 

'Doctrine' is the name for the teaching of Wyclif and of the 
'eminent reformers 1 ' of Eccl. Son. 2.40, for the learning of that 
school of Christian people of whom the Prioress tells, for the 
'legitimate union of the imagination, affections, understanding, and 
reason' with which the Wanderer closes book 4 of The Excursion. 

15 



210 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

'Transport' and 'transports' are the accompaniment of a sudden 
meeting, of the return of long-exiled Dion, of joy, of a faithless 
heart and of soberness of reason overpowered, of" the sight of 
Norton's standard 'in all its dread emblazonry,' of the acquittal 
of the Bishops, of the sunset, of Crete's ballot-box, of youth, of 
tumbling rills, of creative sensibility, of communion with every 
form of creature, of the composition of the preamble to The Prelude, 
of news of the death of Robespierre, of a new-fallen inheritance, 
of the despotism of the bodily eye, of golden expectations, freights 
from a new world of hope, of being (as a presence or a motion, an 
equal among the mightiest energies of Nature), of the discovery of 
precious ore, of the birth of a daughter, of a knock-down blow (see 
Cooper, Concordance to the Poems of W. W. 

In these two lines, which have been chosen to stand at the 
beginning of this interpretation of Reel. Son. (pp. 1-27), there is a 
powerful opposition. That this is not accidental, and not a result of 
Wordsworth's age alone, the foregoing list would abundantly indicate. 
Wordsworth's associations, from Peter Bell and Juvenal on the one 
hand to Isaak Walton and the acquittal of the Bishops on the 
other, taught the same lesson throughout his life: the respective 
value of meek doctrine and transport. 

10-14 'Julian spear' and 'Roman chains' may be adapted from 
the following passages in Davies (Mythology and Rites, pp. 512-13) : 
'I warn thee to depart! Thou be prosperous! Spearmen with 
vibrating spears will occupy the spot. . . . They will break the 
circle behind the flat stone of Maelwy. 'Let the multitude of our 
friends retire'; and (ibid., p. 515): 'The heavy blue chain [the 
deluge] didst thou, O just man [Noah], endure.' Cf. Milton, Hist. 
Brit., ed. by Mitford, in Works 546: 'But the gospel, not long 
after preached here, abolished such impurities, and of the Romans 
we have cause not to say much worse, than that they beat us into 
some civility; likely else to have continued longer in a barbarous 
and savage manner of life.' 

1.4 

Title, " Druidical Excommunication. Although Miss Melville 
(Essay) remarks upon the laxity with which a word of Christian 
connotation is applied to a pagan rite, she seems not to have 
noticed the following passage of Davies, whose italics might easily 
have caught the poet's eye (Celtic Researches, p. 172): 'Amongst 
their disciples, these Druids could at all times ensure peace by 
holding up the rod of excommunication.' 

1-4 For evidence that this sonnet was originally intended to 
follow Long Meg and her Daughters, see MS. F (pp. 104-5). The 
MS. version of line 3, and of line 7, ' Did Priest and Lawgiver and 
Bard aspire,' indicates that Wordsworth had first read some such 
account as Davies gives (Celtic Researches, p. 191): 'The Bards 
were Priest and Poet. The Harp was their inseparable attribute.' 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 211 

Cf. Turner (Hist. Angl. Sax. 1.83-4), to whom Wordsworth may 
have gone for the revision of lines 1-4: 'The Druids appointed the 
remunerations, and the punishments. Whoever disobeyed their 
decree was interdicted from their sacrifices, which with them was 
the severest punishment. An interdicted person was deemed both 
impious and wicked; all fled from him, and avoided his presence 
and conversation, lest they should be contaminated by the inter- 
course. He was allowed no legal rights. He participated in no 
honors.' Cf. also Southey, Book of the Church 1.6: '[The Druids] 
made the people, at the beginning of winter, extinguish all their 
fires on one day, and kindle them again from the sacred fire of the 
Druids, which would make the house fortunate for the ensuing 
year; and if any man came who had not paid his yearly dues, they 
refused to give him a spark, neither durst any of his neighbors 
relieve him; nor might he himself procure fire by any other means, 
so that he and his family were deprived of it till he had discharged 
the uttermost of his debt.' Davies, op cit., p. 172: 'The wretch 
. . . was deprived ... of all social comfort and benefit.' 

5-9 Davies says of Taliesin's Preiddeu Annwn, The Spoils of 
the Deep (Mythology and Rites, p. 515): 'In this first stanza we 
find the Bard acknowledging the existence of one supreme God, and 
declaring his resolution to adore him, because he had shown respect 
to Gwair, the just man, and preserved the inclosure of Caer Sidi, in 
which he had shut him up, at the time when he extended his 
dominions over the shores of the world, or sent forth the universal 
deluge. The Supreme Being was, therefore, adored for his benef- 
icent providence, which had distinguished the just man, and pre- 
served him through a calamity which overwhelmed the world. 
This, I conceive, was a genuine principle of the patriarchal re- 
ligion.' Cf. Stillingfleet, Orig. Brit., p. 57, and Fuller, Ch. Hist. 
1.5-6. 

6 Cf. Daniel 7.9. 

8-9 Davies (Mythology and Rites, p. 74), quotes Borlase and 
Strabo: 'The Druids were remarkable for justice, moral and 
religious doctrines, and skill in the laws of their country.' 
10 'The coming storm' refers to the deluge. 
12 Davies, ibid., p. 87: 'That they had no knowledge or recol- 
lection of the Great First Cause, I will not venture to assert; 
... but they saw him faintly, through the thick veil of super- 
stition.' Cf . Dray ton, Polyolbion 1 .36 : ' darksome groves ' ; Southey, 
Book of the Church 1.3: 'glimmerings of patriarchal faith ; and 
Davies, Celtic Researches, pp. 121-2: 'genuine features of primeval 
history.' 

13-14 The account of Druid cruelty given by Turner (op. cit. 
I 81-2) may have caused the revision of these two lines. Cf. MS. 
F (p. 105). Wordsworth addressed the same object in Guilt and 
Sorrow, stanza 14; and in Prelude 13.312-49. 



212 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 



1-8 Davies (Mythology and Rites, p. 302) mentions in the same 
paragraph Snowden, Stonehenge, Abury, and the temple of Clas- 
serniss in the Western Isles of Scotland. Cf. the sestet of Eccl. 
Son. 1.2 and 1.5 in MS. F (p. 82). With his own memory of the 
Plain of Sarum and the 'Pile of Stonehenge,' and with Dray ton's 
Polyolbion at hand, may not Wordsworth have turned to the lines 
on Stonehenge in the latter(3. 57-64)? 

Conspirator with Time, now grown so mean and poor, 
Comparing these his spirits with those that went before; 
Yet rather art content thy builders' praise to lose, 
Than passed greatness should thy present wants disclose. 
Ill did those mighty men to trust thee with their story, 
Thou hast forgot their names, who rear'd thee for their glory: 
For all their wondrous cost, thou that hast serv'd them so, 
What 'tis to trust to tombs, by these we eas'ly know. 

1 Turner, Hist. Angl. Sax. 1.178-9: 'The querulous and vague 
invectives of Gildas have been reduced to some chronology by 
Bede; and the broken narrations of Nennius have been dramatized 
by Geoffrey; but the labors of Bede have not lessened the original 
obscurity of Gildas; and all that the imagination of Geoffrey has 
effected has been to people the gloom with fantastic shapes, which 
in our search for authentic history only make us welcome the 
darkness that they vainly attempt to remove.' Cf. Milton, P. L. 
345-6. 

2 Dyer (The Fleece, Poems, p. 70) speaks of the Brigantes, 
'inhabitants of Yorkshire,' and (ibid., p. 79) of 'the sounding caves 
of high Brigantium.' 

5 Cf. the proximity of 'Tradition' and 'Time' in Polyolbion, 
6.298, 300. 

6-8 Wordsworth (Itin. Poems 1833 32, 33, 34, 35) later cele- 
brates the Western Isles and lona in greater detail. 

9 As 'monuments of eldest name' Miss Melville suggests the 
Ruthwell and Bewcastle Crosses. 

10 Among the notes on Eccl. Son. i.io (p. 218) a 'lay' of 
Taliesin is quoted for its content. 

11 Stillingfleet (prig. Brit., pp. 37-48) searches the following 
writers of ' characters of Greek or Roman fame': Eusebius, Theod- 
oret, Jerome, Clemens Romanus, Suetonius, Pliny, Tacitus, Ter- 
tullian, Origen, Lactantius, and others. Wordsworth's famil- 
iarity with both Stillingfleet and Turner is proof that he was 
not uninformed on the bibliography of this period. If 'characters' 
refer to inscriptions, Miss Melville's suggestion will be recalled. 
Wordsworth would not have been critical as to the date of these 
and similar crosses or inscriptions. 

12-14 Daniel, Works, ed. by Grosart, 4.85-6: 'Our curiosity 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 213 

to search further back into times past than we might well dis- 
cern, and whereof we could neither have proof nor profit. How 
the beginnings of all people and states were as uncertain as the 
heads of great rivers.' 

1.6 

1-4 Eusebius, Eccl. Hist., tr. by Hanmer, pp. 145-6, especially: 
'When that cursed hypocrisy^ and dissimulation had swum even 
to the brim of malice, the* heavy hand of God's high judg- 
ment, after his wonted manner . . . began softly by a little and a 
little to visit us; ... when as we were touched with no sense or 
feeling thereof, neither went about to pacify God, we heaped sin 
upon sin, thinking like careless epicures that God neither cared 
neither would visit our sins; . . . then, I say then, the Lord ac- 
cording to the saying of Jeremiah (Lament. 2, 5) "Made the 
daughter Sion obscure, and overthrew from above the glory of 
Israel, and remembered not his footstool in the day of his wrath. 
The Lord hath drowned all the beauty of Israel, and overthrown 
all his strongholds." ... It was the nineteenth year of Diocle- 
tian's reign . . . when the Emperor's proclamations were every- 
where published, in which it was commanded that the churches 
should be made even with the ground; the holy Scriptures by 
burning of them should be abolished; . . . such as were of families 
if they retained the Christian faith should be deprived of their 
freedom. And such were the contents of the first edict. But in 
the proclamations which immediately followed after, it was added 
that the pastors throughout all parishes should first be imprisoned, 
next with all means possible constrained to sacrifice.' 

6 Does 'field' indicate the soldiery? This seems probable from 
Eusebius' account (ibid., p. 147): 'Of the persecution first raised 
by Veturius, the captain, against the Christian soldiers. . . . [He] 
first essayed only the Christians which were in camp.' 

7-8 Ibid., p. 146: 'We saw with our eyes the oratories over- 
thrown down to the ground, yea and the very foundations them- 
selves digged up, the holy and sacred Scriptures burned to ashes in- 
the open market place, the pastors of the churches, whereof some 
shamefully hid themselves here and there, some other contume- 
liously taken and derided of the enemies.' 

8 Ibid., p. 160: 'When as the Ethnickes solemnized their 
public feasts, and celebrated their wonted spectacles, amongst other 
their merry news and gladsome wishes it was commonly noised 
abroad that the Christians lately condemned to wild beasts made 
all the sport and finished the solemnity. This report being far and 
nigh and everywhere bruited abroad, young striplings to the number 
of six, . . . joining hands and hearts together, . . . went with 
speed unto Urbanus, who a little before had let loose the ravening 
beasts to rend the Christians in pieces, and freely protested the 
Christian faith.' Ibid., p. 148: 'Sudden bickering with ravening 
beasts, ... the tusks of wild boars.' 



214 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

9 Ibid., p. 152: 'Daily . . . they found out new torments, 
contending one with another who could excel in spiteful inven- 
tions and additions of torment. This calamity was extreme and 
out of measure cruel. And when as thenceforth they despaired 
of increasing their mischief, and now were wearied with slaughter 
and got their fill of bloodshed, voluntarily they mitigate their 
rage, they practise courtesy, their pleasure (forsooth) is henceforth 
to punish with death no longer. It is not requisite (say they) 
that the cities should be stained with blood, . . . that the most 
noble empire of the Caesars should be blemished and defamed 
with the title of cruelty, . . . yea rather the gracious goodness 
and clemency of the Emperor's highness is to be stretched forth 
and enlarged towards all men, that they be no more punished with 
death. They deemed their cruelty assuaged, and the Emperor's 
clemency to shine, in that they commanded our eyes to be plucked 
out, and the left leg to be unjointed. Such was their clemency 
and mitigated cruelty towards us.' 

9-14 Bede's account of Alban's martyrdom may be read in -the 
English translation by A. M. Sellar, pp. 14-17. In the original 
(ed. by Plummer, 1.18-21) 'minas' and 'se . . . ultro pro hospite 
. . . offerre' are important; cf. 'Threats' and 'self-offered victim' 
(lines 10, n) as instances of exact translation. Wordsworth's 
note is as follows: 'This hill at St. Alban's must have been an object 
of great interest to the imagination of the venerable Bede, who 
thus describes it, with a delicate feeling, delightful to meet with in 
that rude age, traces of which are frequent in his works: "Variis 
herbarum floribus depictus imo usquequaque vestitus, in quo nihil 
repente arduum, nihil praeceps, nihil abruptum, quern lateribus 
longe lateque deductum in modum aequoris natura complanat, 
dignum videlicet eum pro insita sibi specie venustatis jam olim 
reddens, qui beati martyris cruore dicaretur." ' 



I Fuller, Ch. Hist. 1.30, of the persecution of Diocletian: 
1 Dark and tempestuous was the morning of this century, which 
afterward cleared up to be a fair day.' Cf. Journals 1.3, 1.34, 
2.19; Ode 1814 109-10; cf. also Virgil, Georg. 1.393, 4 22: 

Nee minus ex imbri soles et aperta serena. . . . 
Avium concentus in agris. 

1-14 My italics in the following passages indicate Wordsworth's 
indebtedness to Hanmer's translation of Eusebius (Eccl. Hist., pp. 
174-5, l8 4 156): 'These things [Sabinus' letters in behalf of the 
Christians] being thus brought to pass, immediately after the 
sunbeams of peace shined brightly as if it had been after a dark or 
misty night. Then might a man have seen throughout every city 
congregations gathered together, often Synods, and there wonted 
meeting celebrated. . . . The noble champions of godliness being 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 215 

set at liberty from the affliction they suffered in ye mine pits 
returned unto their own home, passing throughout every city with 
valiant and cheerful^ courage, with unspeakable joy, and replenished 
with inexplicable liberty of mind. They went in ye voyage and 
return lauding God in songs and psalms throughout that mid high 
ways, throughout the market-places and frequented assemblies. 
There mightest thou have seen them who a little before after most 
grievous punishments were fettered, and banished their native 
soil, to receive and enjoy their proper houses, with a cheerful and 
merry countenance, in so much that they which afore time cried 
out against us, now rejoiced together with us at this wonderful 
sight, happening beyond all men's expectation. . . . The thank- 
fulness of the Christians for the peace granted unto them from 
above after the great storm of persecution. . . . Justly therefore 
we [Eusebius] place here in a perfect number [Book 10] the ab- 
solute and solemn sermon gratulory of the repairing of the 
churches^ obeying no doubt herein the Holy Ghost commanding 
after this sort: "Sing unto the Lord a new song, because he hath 
done marvelous things. With his own right hand and with his 
holy arm hath he gotten himself the victory. The Lord hath showed 
his salvation: in the sight of the heathen hath he openly declared 
his righteousness." In so much that these words of ye Prophet 
require a new song, of duty then we must have a song in our mouth, 
because that after uglesome and dark spectacles, after thundering 
and terrible threats, we have been thought worthy now to see such 
things, and to celebrate such solemnities. . . . Such things had they 
prepared during the whole time of persecution, which in the tenth 
year (320) by the goodness of God wholly ceased, yet after the 
eighth year it began somewhat to slack and relent. For after that 
the divine and celestial grace of God beheld us with a placable and 
merciful countenance, then our princes, even they which hitherto 
warred against us, after a wonderful manner changed their opinion, 
sang a recantation, and quenched that great heat of persecution, 
with most benign and mild edicts and constitutions published 
everywhere in our behalf. The cause of this was not the humanity or 
compassion (as I may so term it) or benignity of the princes, being far 
otherwise disposed (for they invented daily more and more grievous 
things against us . . .), but the apparent countenance of the divine 
providence, reconciled unto his people, withstood the power of mis- 
chief, and quelled the author of impiety, and the worker of the 
whole persecution.' Cf. Stillingfleet, Orig. Brit., p. 74: 'The 
Christians rebuilt their churches, destroyed to the ground, and 
therein celebrated their Holy Sacraments, and kept solemn festivals 
in memory of so great a deliverance.' If Wordsworth referred also 
to Bede, the words 'construunt' and 'renovant' may have been 
responsible for 're-constructed' and 'renewed' (lines 5-6). Cf. 
Bede, Eccl. Hist., ed. by Plummer, 1.22. 



216 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

1.8 

1-14 Daniel, Works, ed. by Grosart, 4.89-91, quoting from 
Tacitus the measures of Agricola for the subjugation of Britain: 
'Advice was taken, saith he, that the people dispersed, rude, and so 
apt to rebellion, should be inured to ease and quiet by their pleas- 
ures; and therefore they exhorted privately, and aided them publicly 
to the building of temples, bourses, palaces; commending whom 
they found forward, and correcting the unwilling, so that the 
emulation of honor was for necessity; then they caused the prin- 
cipal men's sons to be taught the liberal sciences, extolling their 
wits for learning above the Gauls, in so much as they who lately 
scorned the Roman tongue, now desired eloquence. Hereupon 
grew our habits in honor, the gown frequent, and by degrees a 
general collapsion into those softenings of vices, fair houses, baths, 
and delicate banquets; and that, by the ignorant, was termed hu- 
manity, when it was a part of servitude.' The phrase 'fair houses, 
baths, and delicate banquets' is proof that Wordsworth's source 
here was Daniel rather than Turner ('baths, porticoes, and sensual 
banquets'); but from Turner may have come 'luxury,' 'language,' 
and 'letters' (Hist. Angl. Sax. 1.97). 

4-5 Cf. Coleridge, Biog. Lit., ed. by Shawcross, 1.12: 'I re- 
member to have compared Darwin's work to the Russian palace of 
ice, glittering, cold, and transitory.' 

9 Virgil, ^Eneid 6.851-3: 

Tu regere imperio populos, Romane, memento 
(Hae tibi erunt artes), pacisque imponere morem, 
Parcere subiectis et debellare superbos. 

II Ibid. 1.282: 'Gentemque toga tarn.' 

14 Daniel (op. cit. 4.91) refers to kings as 'instruments of 
servitude.' 

1.9 

1-3 Bede (Eccl. Hist., ed. by Plummer, 1.22) uses such words 
as 'vesaniae,' 'corrupto,' 'veneno,' 'pestilentiae,' 'hereseos'; and 
Fuller (Ch. Hist. 1.43) says of Arianism: 'But now, alas! the 
gangrene of that heresy began to spread itself into this island.' 

2-5 Bede, op. cit., tr. by Sellar, p. 21: 'Pelagius, a Briton, 
spread far and near [longe lateque] the infection of his perfidious 
doctrine, denying the assistance of the Divine Grace [contra 
auxilium gratiae supernae], being seconded therein by his associate, 
Julianus of Campania, who was impelled by an uncontrolled desire 
to recover his bishopric, of which he had been deprived.' 

4-7 Ibid., pp. 28, 29: 'Nor were the laity only guilty of these 
things, but even our Lord's own flock, with its shepherds, casting 
off the easy yoke of Christ, gave themselves up to drunkenness, 
enmity, quarrels, strife, envy, and other such sins. . . . Where- 
upon, not long after, a more severe vengeance for their fearful 
crimes fell upon the sinful nation.' 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 217 

8 Turner (Hist. Angl. Sax. 1.178-207) traces in detail the course 
of the Roman evacuation and the invasion of the Picts and Scots; 
the account of Stillingfleet was also available (Orig. Brit., ch. 5); 
and in lines 8-14 Bede's words are closely followed (op. cit., ed. by 
Plummer, 1.26-8): 'non aliam ob causam quam si ipsi inertia 
solverentur,' 'segni populp,' 'flebili voce auxilium implorantes,' 
'lacrimosis precibus,' 'sociis, quos derelinquere cogebantur,' 'vale- 
dicunt sociis tanquam ultra non reversuri,' 'trementi corde stupida/ 
'miserrime,' and 'miseri.' 

^ 9-10 Turner, op. cit. 1.204, especially the following: 'Constan- 
tine could not repel the torrent, because the flower of his army was 
in Spain. Britain and Gaul experienced all its fury. The cities 
even of England were invaded. To whatever quarter they applied 
for help, the application was vain.' Cf. Wordsworth, Desc. Seen. 
Lakes, Prose Works 2.48-9. 

11-14 Stillingfleet (op. cit., p. 321) says of the Saxons: 'At 
first they seemed very zealous and hearty against their common 
enemies, and did great service in beating the Picts and Scots; . . . 
and it is easy to imagine how insolent such a barbarous people 
would grow upon their success, when they knew the Britons durst 
not oppose them. ... It is certain, by what Gildas and Bede ha,ve 
left, that these heats soon brake out into open flames, to the ruin 
and desolation of the country.' Cf. Bede, op. cit., tr. by Sellar, 
pp. 30-1 : ' In a short time, swarms of the aforesaid nations came 
over into the island, and the foreigners began to increase so much 
that they became a source of terror to the natives themselves who- 
had invited them. Then, having on a sudden entered into league 
with the Picts, whom they had by this time repelled by force of 
arms, they began to turn their weapons against their allies.' 

This collection of passages with which W 7 ordsworth must have 
been familiar in order to compose Eccl. Son. 1.9 illustrates the 
tangle of narrative out of which the sonnet grew. Lucid and swift 
as is the Wordsworthian account of the period, its historical pro- 
portions are right, and it has an allusive power both wide and rich. 

1. 10 

1-2 Turner (Hist. Angl. Sax. 1.293-300) debates with Davies 
the latter's opinion (Mythology and Rites, pp. 306-84) that the 
Gododin of Aneurin refers to the massacre of the British by Hengist 
on Salisbury Plain. Cf. Stillingfleet, Orig. Brit., pp. 301, 324: 
'After the translation of the British History by Geoffrey, the 
monkish historians generally follow that, as to the success of these 
battles, and as to the treachery used toward Vortigern by Hengist, 
upon Salisbury Plain, near Ambresbury; where it is said by Geof- 
frey that the Saxons killed 470 of the British nobility, under a 
pretence of a treaty of peace. Nennius saith but 300; and that 
Vortigern was then taken, and was forced to give Essex, Sussex, 



218 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

and Middlesex for his redemption. . . . After this, as Gildas and 
Bede tell us, finding their case almost desperate, the Britons were 
resolved to sell their lives and liberties as dear as they could, and 
by making a fierce assault upon their enemies, they began to get 
the better of them.' Wordsworth knew Geoffrey; he also knew 
Fuller (Ch. Hist. 1.61), who refers to the Saxon perfidy against the 
British at a parley and banquet on Salisbury Plain. Drayton 
(Polyolbion 3.141-2) is in accord with Geoffrey and Fuller. As for 
the Gododin, Wordsworth here sides with Davies against Turner. 

3-4 Cf. Milton, Hist. Brit., ed. by Mitford, in Works 5.52-3; 
and Daniel, Works, ed. by Grosart, 4.91-2. 

5-7 Geoffrey of Monmouth, Hist. Brit., bk. 9, ch. 4, ed. by 
Giles in Six Old English Chronicles, pp. 233-4: '[Arthur] addressed 
himself to his followers in these words: "Since these impious and 
detestable Saxons have disdained to keep faith with me, I ... 
will endeavor to revenge the blood of my countrymen this day 
upon them. To arms! soldiers, to arms! and courageously fall 
upon the perfidious wretches, over whom we shall, with Christ 
assisting us, undoubtedly obtain the victory." . . . [Then, after 
the exhortation and benediction of the archbishop of Legions, he] 
put on a coat of mail suitable to the grandeur of so powerful a king, 
placed a golden helmet upon his head, on which was engraven the 
figure of a dragon; and on his shoulders his shield called Priwen; 
upon which the picture of the blessed Mary, mother of God, was 
painted, in order to put him frequently in mind of her.' Words- 
worth used Aaron Thompson's translation of Historia Britonum by 
Geoffrey of Monmouth, but has borrowed very little from it for 
Eccl. Son. Thompson tried to prove Geoffrey a more faithful 
historian than he is reputed (see Giles, Preface to Six Old English 
Chronicles, p. ix) ; Wordsworth has usually followed the sedater 
chroniclers. 

8-10 Turner (op. cit. 1.286) quotes a poem of Taliesin on Urien: 

Neither the fields, nor the woods, gave safety to the foe, 

When the shout of the Britons came 

Like a wave raging against the shore 

I saw the brave warriors in array; 

And after the morning, how mangled! 

I saw the tumult of the perishing hosts; 

The blood springing forward and moistening the ground. 

Gwenystrad was defended by a rampart : 

Wearied, on the earth, no longer verdant, 

I saw, at the pass of the ford, 

The blood-stained men dropping their arms; 

Pale with terror! 

I admired the brave chief of Reged; 

I saw his reddened brow, 

When he rushed on his enemies at Llec gwen Calystan: 

Like the bird of rage was his sword on their bucklers; 

It was wielded with deadly fate. 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 219 

ii Ibid. 3.508: 'Many of the remaining poems of Taliesin . . . 
show that mixture of the ancient Druidical feeling with their 
Christian faith.' 

12-14 Davies, Mythology and Rites, p. 63: 'These Bards were 
warriors.' Cf. Drayton, Polyolbion 6.102: 

Plynillimon's high praise no longer Muse defer: 

What once the Druids told, how great those Floods should be 

That here (most mighty Hill) derive themselves from thee. 

The Bards with fury rapt, the British youth among, 

Unto the charming Harp thy future honor song 

In brave and lofty strains. 

Cf. also Gray, The Bard. 

I. II 

1-3 Wordsworth, note on Eccl. Son. i.n: 'Alluding to the 
victory gained under Germanus. See Bede.' Bede, Eccl. Hist., 
tr. by Sellar, pp. 38-9: 'When, after the celebration of Easter, 
the greater part of the army, fresh from the font, began to take 
up arms [against the Saxons and Picts] and prepare for war, Ger- 
manus offered to be their leader. He picked out the most active, 
explored the country round about, and observed, in the way by 
which the enemy was expected, a valley encompassed by hills of 
moderate height. In that place he drew up his untried troops, 
himself acting as their general. And now a formidable host of 
foes drew near, visible, as they approached, to his men lying in 
ambush. Then, on a sudden, Germanus, bearing the standard, 
exhorted his men, and bade them all in a loud voice repeat his 
words. As the enemy advanced in all security, thinking to take 
them by surprise, the bishops three times cried, "Hallelujah." A 
universal shout of the same word followed, and the echoes from the 
surrounding hills gave back the cry on all sides; the enemy was 
panic-stricken, fearing not only the neighboring rocks, but even 
the very frame of heaven above them; and such was their terror, 
that their feet were not swift enough to save them. They fled in 
disorder, casting away their arms, and well satisfied if, even with 
unprotected bodies, they could escape the danger; many of them, 
flying headlong in their fear, were engulfed by the river which 
they had crossed.' 

3-5 Ibid., p. 31. 

6 Turner, Hist. Angl. Sax. 3.320, The Battle of Brunanburh: 
'The dreary relics of the darts.' Cf. Stillingfleet (Orig. Brit., p. 
325), who quotes Gildas, ch. 25; cf. also Daniel, Works, ed. by 
Grosart, 4.99-100. 

7 Jeremiah 9.1: 'Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes 
a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain 
of the daughter of my people! ' Cf. also Wordsworth's Epitaphs 3, 
Prose Works 2.183. 



220 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

9-14 Wordsworth, note on i.n: 'The last six lines of the 
sonnet are chiefly from the prose of Daniel; and here I will state 
(though to the readers whom this poem will chiefly interest it is un- 
necessary) that my obligations to other prose writers are frequent 
obligations which, even if I had not a pleasure in courting, it would 
have been presumptuous to shun, in treating an historical subject. 
I must, however, particularize Fuller, to whom I am indebted in 
the sonnet upon Wicliffe and in other instances. And upon the 
acquittal of the Seven Bishops I have done little more than versify 
a lively description of that event in the MS. Memoirs of the first 
Lord Lonsdale.' Cf. Daniel, Works, ed. by Grosart, 4.101: '[Brit- 
ain] having been so long a Province of great honor and benefit to 
the Roman Empire, could not but partake of the magnificence of 
their goodly structures, thermes, aqueducts, high-ways, and all 
other their ornaments of delight, ease, and greatness; all which 
came to be so utterly razed and confounded by the Saxons, as there 
is not left standing so much as the ruins to point us where they 
were; for they, being a people of a rough breeding that would not 
be taken with these delicacies of life, seemed to care for no other 
monuments but of earth, and as born in the field would build their 
fortunes only there. Witness so many intrenchments, mounts, 
and borroughs raised for tombs and defences upon all the wide 
champions and eminent hills of this isle, remaining yet as characters 
of the deep scratches made on the whole face of our country, to 
show the hard labor our progenitors endured to get it for us.' 

1. 12 

1-2 Turner, Hist. Angl. Sax. 1.322, note: 'Brocmail was one of 
the patrons of Taliesin, who commemorates this struggle: 

I saw the oppression of the tumult; the wrath and tribulation; 
The blades gleaming on the bright helmets; 
The battle against the Lord of Fame in the dales of Hafren; 
Against Brocvail of Powys, who loved my muse.' 

Davies, in the Appendix to Mythology and Rites, p. 502, prints a 
similar version of this song. 

3 Cf. Homer, Iliad 6.II2: /^o-a<r0e 5e 0oupi5os dX/ofc. 

4-9 Turner, op. cit. 1.321: 'The Bernician conqueror, Ethel- 
frith, renewed his war with the Cymry. He reached Chester, 
through a course of victory. Apart from the forces of the Welsh, 
assembled under Brocmail, King of Powys, he perceived the monks 
of Bangor.' Wordsworth (note on 1.12) quotes Turner as follows: 
'"Ethelforth reached the convent of Bangor; he perceived the 
Monks, twelve hundred in number, offering prayers for the success 
of their countrymen. ' If they are praying against us,' he exclaimed, 
'they are fighting against us'; and he ordered them to be first 
attacked: they were destroyed; and, appalled by their fate, the 
courage of Brocmail wavered, and he fled from the field in dismay. 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 221 

Thus abandoned by their leader, his army soon gave way, and 
Ethelforth obtained a decisive conquest. Ancient Bangor itself 
soon fell into his hands, and was demolished; the noble monastery 
was leveled to the ground [earth]; its library, which is mentioned 
as a large one, the collection of ages, the repository of the most 
precious monuments of the ancient Britons, was consumed; half 
ruined walls, gates, and rubbish were all that remained of the 
magnificent edifice." See Turner's valuable history of the Anglo- 
Saxons. 

' Taliesin was present at the battle which preceded this desolation. 

'The account Bede gives of this remarkable event suggests a 
most striking warning against national and religious prejudices.' 
Cf. Bede, EccL Hist., tr. by Sellar, pp. 87-8: 'The warlike king of 
the English, Ethelfrid, of whom we have spoken, having raised a 
mighty army, made a very great slaughter of that heretical nation, 
at the city of Legions [Chester], which by the English is called 
Legacaestir, but by the Britons more rightly Carlegion. . . . Thus 
was fulfilled the prophecy of the holy Bishop Augustine, though 
he himself had been long before taken up into the heavenly king- 
dom, that the heretics should feel the vengeance of temporal death 
also, because they had despised the offer of eternal salvation.' 

5 Ibid., ed. by Plummer, 1.84: 'Quamvis arma non ferant, 
contra nos pugnant, qui adversis nos imprecationibus persequuntur.' 

9-14 Daniel (Works, ed. by Grosart, 4.100-1, 102, 103) says of 
the Saxon invaders: 'And with all these princes, and leaders, before 
they could establish their dominions, the Britons so desperately 
grappled, as plant they could not, but upon destruction and deso- 
lation of the whole country, whereof in the end they extinguished 
both the religion, laws, language, and all, with the people and name 
of Britain. . . . But this was an absolute subversion, and con- 
curred with the universal mutation which about that time happened 
in all these parts of the world; whereof there was no one country 
or province but changed bounds, inhabitants, customs, language, 
and in a manner, all their names. . . . Wherefore, we are now to 
begin with a new body of people, with a new State and government 
of this land, which retained nothing of the former, nor held other 
memory but that of the dissolution thereof; where scarce a city, 
dwelling, river, hill, or mountain, but changed names.' 

12 Knight, P. W., Eversley ed., 7.13: 'E.g., in the Lake Dis- 
trict, the Greta, Derwent, etc.' 

13 Ibid.: 'E.g., in the Lake District, Stone Arthur, Blencathara, 
and Catbells.' 

I.I3 

1-14 Bede, EccL Hist., tr. by Sellar, p. 82: 'Nor must we pass 
by in silence the story of the blessed Gregory, handed down to us 
by the tradition of our ancestors, which explains his earnest care 
for the salvation of our nation. It is said that one day, when 



222 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

some merchants had lately arrived at Rome, many things were 
exposed for sale in the market-place, and much people resorted 
thither to buy: Gregory himself went with the rest, and saw among 
other wares some boys put up for sale, of fair complexion, with 
pleasing countenances, and very beautiful hair. When he beheld 
them, he asked, it is said, from what region or country they were 
brought? and was told, from the island of Britain, and that the 
inhabitants were like that in appearance. He again inquired 
whether those islanders were Christians, or still involved in the 
errors of paganism, and was informed that they were pagans. Then 
fetching a deep sigh from the bottom of his heart, "Alas! what a 
pity," said he, "that the author of darkness should own men of 
such fair countenances; and that with such grace of outwar.d form, 
their minds should be void of inward grace." He therefore again 
asked, what was the name of that nation? and was answered, that 
they were called Angles. "Right," said he, "for they have an 
angelic face, and it is meet that such should be co-heirs with the 
Angels in heaven. What is the name of the province from which 
they are brought?" It was replied, that the natives of that 
province were called Deiri. "Truly are they De Ira" said he, 
"saved from wrath, and called to the mercy of Christ. How is 
the king of that province called?" They told him his name was 
Aelli; and he, playing upon the name, said, "Allelujah, the praise 
of God the Creator must be sung in those parts." ' Cf. Words- 
worth's remark on an epitaph which 'brings home a general truth 
to the individual by the medium of a pun' (Epitaphs 2, Prose 
Works 2.151). 

1.14 

3-10 Bede, Ecd. Hist., ed. by Plummer, 1.45-6: ' Veniebant 
crucem pro vexillo ferentes argenteam, et imaginem Domini Salvatoris 
in tabula depictam, laetaniasque canentes pro sua simul et eorum, 
propter quos et ad quos venerant, salute aeterna, Domino suppli- 
cabant.' 

10-14 Ibid. 1.78, where Bede quotes Gregory (on Job): 'Ecce 
lingua Brittaniae, quae nil aliud noverat quam barbarum frendere, 
iam dudum in divinis laudibus Hebreum coepit alleluia resonare. 
Ecce quondam tumidus, iam substratus sanctorum pedibus servit 
oceanus, eiusque barbaros motus, quos terreni principes edomare ferro 
nequiverant, hos pro divina formidine sacerdotum ora simplicibus 
verbis ligant, et qui catervas pugnantium infidelis nequaquam 
metueret, iam nunc fidelis humilium linguas timet.' Cf. Bede's 
remark on the coming of Germanus and Severus (ibid. 1.40): 
'Occurrit inscia multitudo, confestim benedictio et sermonis divini 
doctrina profunditur.' Cf. also Daniel, Works, ed. by Grosart, 
4.103, especially the following: '. . . when their stern asperity 
grew mollified by humility of the religion.' My italics indicate 
Wordsworth's indebtedness and his skill in translation. 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 223 



1-3 Bede (Red. Hist., ed. by Plummer, 1.108-10; tr. by Sellar, 
pp. 113-14), after describing Edwin's peril of death from Redwald, 
says: 'Edwin remained alone without, and sitting with a heavy 
heart [mestus] before the palace, began to be overwhelmed with 
many thoughts, not knowing what to do, or which way to turn. 
When he had remained a long time in silent anguish of mind 
[mentis angoribus], . . . troubled [mestus] and wakeful . . .' Here 
follows the account of the spirit appearing to comfort and direct 
the royal youth. 

4-9 Wordsworth, note on Eccl. Son. 1.15: 'The person of 
Paulinus is thus described by Bede, from the memory of an eye- 
witness: "Longae staturae, paululum incurvus, nigro capillo, facie 
macilenta, naso adunco, pertenui, venerabilis simul et terribilis 
aspectu."' Op. cit., ed. by Plummer, 1.117. Cf. the description of 
the elder Norton (White Doe 744-5): 'A face to fear and venerate.' 

9-14 Turner, Hist. Angl. Sax. 1.344-5: 'The vicissitudes of 
Edwin's life had indued his mind with a contemplative temper, 
which made him more intellectual than any of the Anglo-Saxon 
kings that had preceded him, and which fitted him for the recep- 
tion of Christianity. His progress towards this revolution of mind 
was gradual, and the steps have been clearly narrated by his 
countryman Bede.' Cf. Bede, op. cit., tr. by Sellar, p. 115: 'King 
Edwin, therefore, delaying to receive the Word of God at the 
preaching of Paulinus, and being wont for some time, as has been 
said, to sit many hours alone, and seriously to ponder with himself 
what he was to do, and what religion he was to follow, the man of 
God came to him one day, laid his right hand on his head, and asked 
whether he knew that sign.' 

11-13 Ibid., pp. 103, 105: 'Nor did he refuse to accept that 
religion himself, if, being examined by wise men, it should be found 
more holy and more worthy of God. . . . He would not imme- 
diately and unadvisedly embrace the mysteries of the Christian 
faith, though he no longer worshipped idols, ever since he made 
the promise that he would serve Christ; but first took heed ear- 
nestly to be instructed at leisure by the venerable Paulinus, in the 
knowledge of the faith, and to confer with such as he knew to be 
the wisest of his chief men, inquiring what they thought was fittest 
to be done in that case. And being a man of great natural sagacity, 
he often sat alone by himself a long time in silence, deliberating 
in the depths of his heart how he should proceed, and to which 
religion he should adhere.' 

13-14 Ibid., p. 116: 'Holding a council with the wise men, he 
asked of every one in particular what he thought of this doctrine 
hitherto unknown to them, and the new worship of God that 
was preached.' 



224 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

1.16 

1-14 Wordsworth, note on Red. Son. 1.16: 'See the original of 
this speech in Bede.' Bede, Eccl. Hist., tr. by Sellar, pp. 116-7: 
' "The present life of man upon earth, O King, seems to me, in 
comparison with that time which is unknown to us, like to the 
swift flight of a sparrow through the house wherein you sit at 
supper in winter, with your ealdormen and thegns, while the fire 
blazes in the midst, and the hall is warmed, but the wintry storms 
of rain or snow are raging abroad. The sparrow, flying in at one 
door and immediately out at another, whilst he is within, is safe 
from the wintry tempest; but after a short space of fair weather, 
he immediately vanishes out of your sight, passing from winter 
into winter again. So this life of man appears for a little while, 
but of what is to follow or what went before we know nothing at 
all. If, therefore, this new doctrine tells us something more certain, 
it seems justly to deserve to be followed." Wordsworth, however, 
saw this speech first in Fuller's Church History, as is proved by 
comparing MS. F (p. 84) with Fuller's translation (1.109): 
' "Man's life," said he, "O King, is like unto a little sparrow, 
which, whilst your majesty is feasting by the fire in your parlor 
with your royal retinue, flies in at one window, and out at another. 
Indeed, we see it that short time it remaineth in the house, and then 
is it well sheltered from wind and weather; but presently it passeth 
from cold to cold; and whence it came, and whither it goes, we 
are altogether ignorant. Thus, we can give some account of our 
soul during its abode in the body, whilst housed and harbored 
therein; but where it was before, and how it fareth after, is to us 
altogether unknown. If therefore Paulinus's preaching will cer- 
tainly inform us herein, he deserveth, in my opinion, to be enter- 
tained.' But there are two versions in MS. F. It is reasonable 
to suppose that the change from ' Man's life is like a sparrow, 
Mighty King' to 'The life of man may be compared, O King' was 
made after Wordsworth had read in Bede (op. cit., ed. by Plum- 
mer, 1.112) the original ' ad comparationem.' The second reading, 
however, was not retained.' 

1.17 

1-14 Wordsworth, note on Eccl. Son. 1.16: 'The conversion of 
Edwin, as related by him [Bede], is highly interesting and the 
breaking up of this Council accompanied with an event so striking 
and characteristic, that I am tempted to give it at length in a 
translation. " 'Who,' exclaimed the King, when the Council was 
ended, 'shall first desecrate the altars and the temples?' 'I,' 
answered the Chief Priest; 'for who more fit than myself, through 
the wisdom which the true God hath given me, to destroy, for the 
good example of others, what in foolishness I worshipped? ' Imme- 
diately, casting away vain superstition, he besought the King to 
grant him what the laws did not allow to a priest, arms and a 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 225 

courser (equum emissarium) ; which mounting, and furnished 
with a sword and lance, he proceeded to destroy the Idols. The 
crowd, seeing this, thought him mad. He, however, halted not, 
but, approaching, he profaned the temple, casting against it the 
lance which he had held in his hand, and, exulting in acknowledg- 
ment of the worship of the true God, he ordered his companions to 
pull down the temple, with all its enclosures. The place is shown 
where those Idols formerly stood, not far from York, at the source 
of the river Derwent, and is at this day called Gormund Gaham, 
ubi pontifex ille, inspirante Deo vero, pplluit ac destruxit eas, quas 
ipse sacraverat aras." The last expression is a pleasing proof that 
the venerable monk of Wearmouth was familiar with the poetry 
of Virgil.' (Cf. jEneid 3.305, 4.200.) 

i Bede (Red. Hist., ed. by Plummer, 1.35), to describe the 
effect of the teaching of Germanus and Lupus, uses a phrase which 
Wordsworth has here applied: 'Itaque regionis universitas in 
eorum sententiam promta transierat.' Sellar's translation of 
'promta transierat,' 'readily came over,' is verbally less suggestive 
of the original than Wordsworth's 'prompt transformation.' 
'Novel lore' may well be a reminiscence of Ethelbert's speech to 
Augustine, as given by Bede (ibid. 1.46): 'Pulchra sunt quidem 
verba et promissa, quae adfertis; sed quia nova sunt et incerta 
. . .'; or of ' haec nova doctrina ' in the speech of the sage to Edwin 
(ibid. 1.112). 

4 The original version (ed. by Plummer, 1.113) has 'fana 
idolorum.' 

5-8 Fuller (Ch. Hist. 1.82) describes Thor with 'a kingly sceptre 
in his right hand.' Of Woden he says: 'He was the god of battle, 
by whose aid and furtherance they hoped to obtain victory.' 

9-10 Bede, op. cit., ed. by Plummer, 1.35: 'Latebant abditi 
sinistrae persuasionis auctores, et more maligni spiritus, gemebant 
perire sibi populos evadentes.' 

10-11 Bede (op. cit., tr. by Sellar, p. 126) quotes a letter from 
Pope Honorius to the Bishop Honorius who succeeded Justus at 
Canterbury: ' Come unto Me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, 
and I will refresh you' (Matthew 11.28). 

12 W r ordsworth, note on Eccl. Son. 1.17: 'The early propa- 
gators of Christianity were accustomed to preach near rivers, for 
the convenience of baptism.' 

12-14 Bede (op. cit., ed. by Plummer, 1.47) is here the source 
of words as well as of substance: 'At ubi ipse [rex] etiam inter alios 
delectatus ['rejoice'] vita mundissima sanctorum, et promissis 
['promise'] eorum suavissimis, quae vera esse miraculorum quoque 
multorum ostensione firmaverat, credens baptizatus est, coepere 
plures cotidie ad audiendum ['heard'] verbum confluere ac, relicto 
gentilitatis ritu ['rite'], unitati se sanctae ['sanctity'] Christi eccle- 
siae credendo sociare.' 
16 



226 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

1.18 

1-2, 12 Bede (Eccl. Hist., ed. by Plummer, 1.66) quotes a letter 
from Gregory to Augustine: 'Gaudeas videlicet, quia Anglorum 
animae per exteriora miracula ad interiorem gratiam pertrahuntur.' 

3-10 Bede (op. cit., tr. by Sellar, p. 330) recounts the vision of 
Drythelm, addressing ' those who, being terrified with the dread of 
torments, or ravished with the hope of everlasting joys, would 
draw from his words the means to advance in piety.' He recalls 
(op. cit., ed. by Plummer, 1.305) Virgil's line, 'sola sub nocte per 
umbras [Pumbram]' (;Eneid6.268). Eccl. Son. 1.18.3-10 are so like 
the vision of Drythelm, that on the latter rather than on the 
numerous other visions recorded by the monk of Jarrow must the 
sonnet have been based. The vision follows (tr. by Sellar, pp. 
327-8) : ' I beheld a crowd of evil spirits dragging five souls of 
men, wailing and shrieking, into the midst of the darkness, whilst 
they themselves exulted and laughed. . . . Being thus on all sides 
encompassed with enemies and shades of darkness, and casting my 
eyes hither and thither if haply anywhere help might be found 
whereby 1 might be saved, there appeared behind me, on the way 
by which I had come, as it were, the brightness of a star shining 
amidst the darkness; which waxing greater by degrees, came rapid- 
ly towards me; and when it drew near, all those evil spirits, that 
sought to carry me away* with their tongs, dispersed and fled. 
Now he, whose approach put them to flight, was the same that 
led me before; who . . . began to lead me . . . towards the 
rising of the winter sun, and having soon brought me out of the 
darkness, led me forth into an atmosphere of clear light.' Cf. 
Milton, P. L. 2.1032-3.- 

7 Ibid., pp. 328-9: 'Lo! there was a wide and pleasant plain 
full of such fragrance of blooming flowers that the marvellous 
sweetness of the scents immediately dispelled the foul stench.' 

8-10 Bede (ibid., pp. 233-4), in his account of another vision, 
uses such phrases as 'wherewith the sun at noonday might seem 
dark' and 'the rays of light . . . seemed to exceed the utmost 
brightness of daylight.' The Latin (ed. by Plummer, 1.220) reads 
'sol meridianis' and 'radii lucis omnem diurni luminis viderentur 
superare fulgorem.' 

10-11 Bede (ibid. 1.222) uses the words 'quasi funibus auro 
clarioribus in superna toller etur,' 'it was raised on high as it were 
by cords brighter than gold.' He adds: 'Nee dubium remansit 
cogitanti de visione, quin aliquis de ilia congregatione citius esset 
moriturus, cuius anima per bona, quae fecisset, opera, quasi per 
fanes aureos levanda esset ad caelos.' Again (ibid. 1.308), we have 
a reference to that flowery place ' in quo recipiuntur animae eorum, 
qui in bonis quidem operibus de corpore exeunt'; Gregory had 
written to Ethelbert of Augustine (ibid. 1.68) as 'bonis auctore 
Deo operibus praeditus'; and Aidan's influence on the faithful is 
indicated (ibid. 1.136) by 'Operumque bonorum exsecutionem.' 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH . 227 

The strong contrast in this sonnet between evil spirits and good 
spirits is to be expected from one whose eyes had fallen on Bede's 
reiterated phrases: 'bonos sive malos spiritus,' 'angeli . . . 
daemones.' 

Since the opposition between 'eternal interests' and 'natural lot' 
is so marked, comment upon the two ideas is not out of place. 
'Eternal' occurs 8 times in Eccl. Son; 'natural,' 6 times. 'Eter- 
nity' does not occur; 'Nature' occurs 5 times. Compare the fol- 
owing data: 

'Nature' 'Natural' 'Eternity' 'Eternal' 
Prelude 95 16 7 o 

Excursion 78 23 6 7 

1.19 

1-14 Wordsworth, note on Eccl. Son. 1.19: 'Having spoken of 
the zeal, disinterestedness, and temperance of the clergy of those 
times, Bede thus proceeds: "Unde et in magna erat veneratione 
tempore illo religionis habitus, ita ut ubicunque clericus aliquis, 
aut monachus adveniret, gaudentur aS omnibus tanquam Dei 
famulus exciperetur. Etiam si in itinere pergens inveniretur, 
accurrebant, et flexa cervice, vel manu signari, vel ore illius se 
benedici, gaudebant. Verbis quoque horum exhortatoriis diligenter 
auditum praebebant." Lib. iii. cap. 26.' 

2-3 Bede, Eccl. Son., tr. by Sellar, p. 144: 'He [Aidan, circ. 
635 A. D.] neither sought nor loved anything of this world; . . . 
he [traveled] on foot ... to the end that, as he went, he might 
turn aside to any whomsoever he saw, whether rich or poor, and 
call upon them, if infidels, to receive the mystery of the faith, or, 
if they were believers, strengthen them in the faith, and stir them 
up by words and actions to giving of alms and the performance of 
good works.' That Aidan, although not a Saxon, is the particular 
priest of whom Wordsworth thinks is indicated by the following 
words in the Latin text (ed. by Plummer, 1.136): incedens 'meet' 
(line 9), aspexisset 'Apparition' (line 10). They are used of Aidan. 

4 Cf. Journals i.n, 121. 

5 Bede (op. cit., ed. by Plummer, 1.225) uses these words in 
regard to Sebbi [circ. 694 A. D.]: 'piis elimosynarum fructibus,* 
pious fruits of almsgiving. 

8 Cf. Vaudracour and Julia 44. 

11-12 Bede (op. cit., tr. by Sellar, p. 166): '[Oswin, King of 
Deira] ungirt his sword and gave it to a servant, and hastened to 
the Bishop [Aidan] and fell down at his feet, beseeching him to 
forgive him.' 

13 Bede, op. cit., ed. by Plummer, 1.191: 'Tota cura cordis 
excolendi.' 



228 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

1.20 

1-14 This sonnet may have been suggested by Turner's dis- 
cussion of systems of 'deprecation, adoration, expiation, reconcile- 
ment, and supplication' (Hist. Angl. Sax. 3.508-9): 'It is upon 
their feelings, rather than upon their reason, that mankind base 
their belief, not in religion alone, but in all things which they 
accredit or uphold.' Some twenty pages further on (ibid. 3.528) 
is the account of the erection of Ramsey monastery, referred to in 
the poet's note on 1.24. In this episode Edgar's ealdorman, whose 
'sacred structure' Ramsey is, builds in memory of a brother who 
has died; and of the monks who will inhabit the 'quiet fortress' 
it is said (cf. lines 11-12): 'By their merits . . . the prisons are 
opened; the fettered released.' 

2-5 Cf. Maternal Grief 73: 'The vanities of grief.' 

6-7 Cf. Excursion 3.695-701; and Epitaphs, P. W., Oxford ed., 
p. 932. 

8-12 See Littledale (Wordsworth's Literary Criticism, 1905, p. 
255) for Wordsworth's remark to Bishop Wordsworth: 'The 
ministry of confession is provided to satisfy the natural desire for 
some relief from the load of grief. Here, as in so many other 
respects, the Church of Rome adapts herself with consummate 
skill to our nature, and is strong by our weaknesses. Almost all 
her errors and corruptions are abuses of what is good.' 

13-14 'Bede (Reel. Hist., ed. by Plummer, 1.66) quotes Gregory's 
letter to Augustine, in which occurs this same warning: 'Perti- 
mescas vero, ne inter signa, quae fiunt, infirmus animus in sui 
praesumtione se elevet, et unde foras in honorem tollitur, inde per 
inanem gloriam intus cadat.' 

Wordsworth's opinion on the use and abuse of the instrument 
may be found in the following passages: Letters 1.200; Prose Works 
1.314, and 2.177; Excursion 9.188; and Letters 2.35. 

1. 21 

i Cf. White Doe 516-20; and Bede, Eccl. Hist., ed. by Plummer, 
1.321: ' Regni sceptra reliquit.' 

2-3 Cf. Letter to the Bishop of Llandaff, Prose Works 1.13-14: 
'If your Lordship has travelled in the democratic cantons of 
Switzerland, you must have seen the herdsmen with the staff in 
one hand and the book in the other.' 

4-6 Daniel, Works, ed. by Grosart, 4.104: 'Divers of them 
{the Saxon Kings] renounced their temporal dignities for spiritual 
solitude, and became monks: as ^Ethelred and Kinred, kings of 
Mercna-land; Offa, king of the East Saxons; Kadwalla and Ine, 
Kings of the West Saxons; Eadbert, king of Northumbrians, &c.' 
Bede, Eccl. Hist., tr. by Sellar, p. 172: 'This king [Sigbert of East 
Anglia, circ. 631 A. D.J became so great a lover of the heavenly 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 229 

kingdom', that at last, quitting the affairs of his kingdom, and 
committing them to his kinsman, Ecgric, who before had a share 
in that kingdom, he entered a monastery, which he had built for 
himself, and having received the tonsure, applied himself rather to 
do battle for a heavenly throne. . . . [Taken from his monastery 
unwillingly to do battle against Penda], he would carry nothing in 
his hand but a wand.' 

7-14 Wordsworth, Memoirs, ed. by Reed, 2.486: 'In the 
Ecclesiastical Sonnets the lines concerning the Monk, "Within his 
cell . . . ," were suggested to me by a beautiful tree clad as thus 
described, which you may remember in Lady Fleming's park at 
Rydal, near the path to the upper waterfall.' Cf. Journals 1.3: 
'Walked through the wood to Holford. The ivy twisting round 
the oaks like bristled serpents.' Cf. also Shakespeare, Mid. Night's 
Dream 4.1.49-50; Virgil, EC. 5.32; and Milton's use of the figure in 
Reformation. 

1.22 

1-14 Bede (Eccl. Hist., tr. by Sellar, p. 177) refers to Fursa, 
who, after building monasteries at Lough Corrib and Cnobheres- 
burg, ' became desirous to rid himself of all business of this world, 
and even of the monastery itself, and forthwith left the care of it 
and of its souls to his brother, Fullan, and the priests Gobban and 
Dicull, and being himself free from all worldly affairs, resolved to 
end his life as a hermit.' 

2-9 Cf. Wordsworth, Desc. Seen. Lakes, Prose Works 2.90-1 ; 
and Dorothy Wordsworth, Journals 2.224, 2 3 2 ~3> 2 56- Glen 
Almain 23-9, Inscriptions Supposed to be Found in and near a 
Hermit's Cell, and The Brownie's Cell, were previously written, and 
show by comparison what Wordsworth's material became when 
shaped into a sonnet. Refer also to Excursion 2.349-69. 

6 The collocation of 'heaven' and 'pool' should be noted in 
Resolution 54; also in the two lines which Coleridge felt to be so 
characteristic of Wordsworth, Prelude 5.387-8. Moreover, Duddon 
22.2, 23.4, and 24 are not alien to the imagery and temper of this 
sonnet. 

9-14 The 'beechen bowl' makes its reappearance from Prelude 
8.206, where it was part of the 'smooth life' of 'flock and shepherd 
in old time,' led in country such as the poet saw near the im- 
perial walls of Goslar; a 'sweet life' which had been set aside, 
as a conception, for what were not 'appearances,' 'shadows,' 
'fancies,' and 'delusions' (Prelude 8.173-339). The ' maple^ dish ' 
of the hermit with 'visionary views' had likewise been discredited in 
Excursion 5.687. From The Excursion (6.327), too, come the owl, 
and the fowl loved by the Wanderer (2.45); and the phrase 
'thorp . . . vill' (8.100). On the subject of Wordsworth's pas- 
torals, see Leslie N. Broughton, The Theocritean Element in the 
Works of William Wordsworth. Cf. in particular the bowl in the 



230 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

first idyl of Theocritus, and the two beechen cups which Menalcas 
stakes (Virgil, EC. 3.36). Cf. also Milton, Comus 390-1. 

Whatever the pastoral beauty of Eccl. Son. 1.22, Wordsworth 
uses its imagery chiefly as a foil to the ideas of 1.23. If we except 
The Point at Issue, 2.30, no part of Eccl. Son. is more typical than 
the transition between 1.22 and 1.23. The 'but' of 1.23.1 echoes 
the 'yet' of Prelude 8.215. 

1.23 

1-3 Camden, Britain, tr. by Holland, 744 B: 'When he [Bede] 
was once dead, there was buried with him, as William of Malmsbury 
saith, all the knowledge, well near, of acts and monuments, until 
our time. For when there succeeded ever one more lazy than 
another, the heat of good studies was abated and cooled through 
the whole land.' 

4-5 Fuller, Ch. Hist. 1.150: ' Venerable ... a title neither too 
high nor too low; just even to so good a man and great a scholar, 
whilst alive.' 

5 Ibid. 1.149, 151: '[Bede] was the profoundest scholar in his 
age, for Latin, Greek, philosophy, history, divinity, mathematics, 
music, and what not? Homilies of his making were read in his 
lifetime in the Christian churches, a dignity afforded to him 
alone. We are much beholding to his Ecclesiastical History, 
written by him and dedicated to Ceolwolfus, king of Northumber- 
land. ... A foreign ambassador, some two hundred years since, 
coming to Durham, addressed himself first to the high and sump- 
tuous shrine of St. Cuthbert. " If thou beest a saint, pray for me " ; 
then, coming to the plain, low, and little tomb of Bede, "Because," 
said he, "thou art a saint, good Bede, pray for me."' 

5-6 Ibid. 1.150: 'Some report that Bede never went out of his 
cell, but lived and cHed therein.' 

7-9, 12 Camden, Britain, tr. by Holland, 744 B : ' Here [at Jarrow] 
our Bede, the singular glory and ornament of England, who for 
his piety and learning got the surname of Venerabilis, bestowed 
all diligence, as himself saith, in meditation of the Scriptures, and 
amid the most boisterous billows and surging waves of barbarism 
wrote many learned volumes.' 

9 Bede, Eccl. Hist., ed. by Plummer, 1.357: 'Semper aut 
discere, aut docere, aut scribere dulce habui.' 

14 Wordsworth, note on Eccl. Son. 1.23: 'He expired dictating 
the last words of [1822 'in the act of concluding'] a translation of 
St. John's Gospel.' Fuller (Ch. Hist. 1.151) was the source of 
Wordsworth's note: 'One of the last things he [Bede] did was the 
translating of the Gospel of St. John into English. When death 
seized on him, one of his devout scholars, whom he used for his 
secretary or amanuensis, complained, "My beloved master, there 
remains yet one sentence unwritten." "Write it, then, quickly," 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 231 

replied Bede, and, summoning all his spirits together, like the last 
blaze of a candle going out, he indited it, and expired.' Cf. 
Letters 2.257 an d Misc. Son. 3.44. 

Eccl. Son. 1.23 should be read with The Solitary of The Excursion 
in mind by contrast. 'Sublime Recluse!' (line 9) refers- us to other 
and more tentative definitions of the recluse. Cf. also Excursion, 
5.20-48, The Recluse entire, and 2.5 of this series. 

1.24 

1-14 Wordsworth, note on Eccl. Son. 1.24: 'See in Turner's 
History, vol. iii, p. 528, the account of the erection of Ramsey 
Monastery. Penances were removable by the performance of acts 
of charity -and benevolence.' Turner (Hist. Angl. Sax. 3.527-8) 
quotes from the Hist. Ram.: ' On the death of a favorite nobleman 
of Edgar's court, his brother, an ealdorman, expressed to Bishop 
Oswald his desire to pursue a better system of life than his worldly 
occupations permitted. Oswald assured him that his secular 
affairs would but give him so many opportunities of doing good, 
if he was careful to observe a conscientious spirit of equity, a 
merciful moderation, and a constant intention of right conduct. 
But he added that they only were free, serene, and released from all 
danger and anxiety, who renounced the world; and that their piety 
brought blessings on their country. "By their merits, the anger of the 
Supreme Judge is abated; a healthier atmosphere is granted; corn 
springs up more abundantly; famine and pestilence withdraw; the State 
is better governed; the prisons are opened; the fettered released; the 
shipwrecked are relieved; and the sick recover." Oswald ended 
his speech by advising him, if he had any place in his territory 
fitted for a monastery, to build one upon it, promising to contribute 
to its maintenance.' The italics are mine. 

1 Ibid. 3.528: 'The workmen labored as much from devotion 
as for profit.' 

2 Virgil, &neid 1.430 ff: 'Qualis apes . . .' Cf. Milton, P. L. 
1.768 ff. 

3-10 Fuller, Ch. Hist. 1.207: 'O, with what might and main 
did they mount their walls, both day and night! erroneously 
conceiving that their souls were advantaged to heaven, when 
taking the rise from the top of a steeple of their own erection!' 

5 Bede (Eccl. Hist., tr. by Sellar, p. 246) describes Wilfrid's 
influence in Sussex: 'No rain had fallen in that district for three 
years before his arrival in the province. . . . But on the very day 
on which the nation received the Baptism of the faith, there fell a 
soft but plentiful rain; the earth revived, the fields grew green 
again, and the season was pleasant and fruitful.' 

7 Ibid., p. 272, for Hilda's journey from Hartlepool to Whitby, 
where she built or set in order a monastery, teaching 'the strict 
observance of ... justice, piety, chastity, and other virtues, and 
particularly of peace and charity.' 



232 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

11-12 Turner, op. cit. 3.541-2: 'The following is one of their 
regulations on this subject: " Many men may redeem their penances 
by alms; ... he that hath ability may . . . free his own slaves, 
and redeem the liberty of those of other masters, and especially 
the poor captives of war." ' 

1.25 

1-2 Bede (Eccl. Hist., tr. by Sellar, pp. 147-8) uses the figure 
'sow the seed of the holy faith,' 'sanctae fidei semina esse spars- 
urum,' in regard to the conversion of the West Saxons by Birinus; 
among English apostles to 'barbarous shores' are: Wilbrord to 
Friesland (ibid., p. 320), Hewald to the Old Saxons (ibid., p. 321), 
and Boniface and Adalbert to Germany (Turner, Hist. Angl. Sax. 
3.518-9). 

3-4 Bede refers to Wilfrid in this connection (op. cit., p. 347); 
and to Oftfor (ibid., p. 273). 

5-6, 9 Ibid., pp. 356-7, Wilfrid's epitaph: 'Here rests the body 
of the great Bishop Wilfrid, who, for love of piety, built these 
courts, and consecrated them with the noble name of Peter, to 
whom Christ, the Judge of all the earth, gave the keys of Heaven. 
And devoutly he clothed them with gold and Tyrian purple; yea, 
and he placed here the trophy of the Cross, of shining ore, uplifted 
high; moreover he caused the four books of the Gospel to be written 
in gold in their order, and he gave a case meet for them of ruddy 
gold. And he also brought the holy season of Easter, returning in 
its course, to accord with the true teaching of the catholic rule 
which the Fathers fixed, and, banishing all doubt and error, gave 
his nation sure guidance in their worship. And in this place he 
gathered a great throng of monks, and with all diligence safeguarded 
the precepts which the Fathers' rule enjoined. And long time 
sore vexed by many a peril at home and abroad, when he had held 
the office of a bishop forty-five years, he passed away, and with joy 
departed to the heavenly kingdom. Grant, O Jesus, that the 
flock may follow in the path of the shepherd.' Acca, Wilfrid's 
successor, enriched Hagustald and St. Andrew with relics, books, 
adornments (ibid., p. 358). 

7-9 Cf. the Dedication to The White Doe 1-8, 33-40. The story 
of Una was one of the two which Wordsworth held 'pre-eminently 
dear' (Pers. Talk 40, 42). 

9-13 Wordsworth wrote to Francis Wrangham, Nov. 20, [1795], 
(Letters 1.89): 'I suppose you were too busy to go on with The 
Destruction of Babylon. 1 Cf. Wrangham's The Restoration of the 
Jews and The Destruction of Babylon, Poems, pp. 15-16 and 43: 

Past is the fame of Egypt; whose pale son 
Erst by the midnight lamp, with learned toil 
Skilful to wind the hieroglyphic maze, 
Por'd on the treasur'd page by double fate 
Denied to future times. With prone descent 
Great Babylon is fallen; amid the dust, 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 233 

Vainly inquisitive, the traveller pries 
In fruitless search where Syrian BELUS rear'd 
His idol form: No human trace around 
Informs his doubtful step; no friendly tone 
Breaks the disastrous silence . . . 

Beneath the waves 

Old Tyre is whelm'd, and all her revelry: 
Those hosts, who barter'd ISRAEL'S sons for gold 
(The Traffickers of blood) no more renew 
Th' abhorred merchandize; no more with glance 
Of keen remark compute the sinew's force, 
Or weigh the muscles of their fellow-man. 
Now stoops that tower, from whose broad top the eye 
Of infant Science pierc'd the midnight sky; . . . 
Vain all her study! 

13-14 Bede (op. cit., p. 214) indicates with emphasis the classical 
attainments of Hadrian and of Theodore. He continues (ibid., 
pp. 216-17): 'And forasmuch as both of them were, as has been 
said before, fully instructed both in sacred and in secular letters, 
they gathered a crowd of disciples, and rivers of wholesome knowledge 
daily flowed from them to water the hearts of their hearers; and, 
together with the books of Holy Scripture, they also taught them 
the metrical art, astronomy, and ecclesiastical arithmetic. A 
testimony whereof is, that there are still living at this day some of 
their scholars, who are as well versed in the Greek and Latin 
tongues as in their own, in which they were born.' Cf. Dante, 
Inferno 1.79-80. 

1.26 

1-14 Wordsworth had previously conceived the character of 
Alfred in an imaginary speech (A Fact, and an Imagination 24-43). 
Cf. Milton's account of Alfred (Hist. Brit.). 

1 Turner (Hist. Angl. Sax. 1.503) says of Alfred's mother: 
'She is said to have given him to Swithin, the preceptor of his 
father, to be taught.' Also (ibid. 1.509): 'In Alfred's journey 
through France, he was very hospitably treated by Bertinus and 
Grimbald.' As instructors of Alfred the following are indicated 
(ibid. 2.141-2): Werfrith, Bishop of Worcester; Plegmund, a 
Mercian, Archbishop of Canterbury; Ethelstan and Werwulf, 
Mercian priests; Johannes Erigena, monk; Asser, of St. David's. 
Turner adds (ibid. 2.147): 'To John Erigena, to Grimbald, to 
Asser, and Plegmund, Alfred himself ascribes his acquisition of the 
Latin language' (Preface to Gregory's Cura Pastoralis). 

2 Turner, op. cit. 2.278: 'One of the principal features of 
Alfred's useful life was his earnest piety.' Ibid. 2.302-3, 306: 
'This indefatigable king made also a code of laws, with the con- 
currence of his witena-gemot or parliament, which has been called 
his Dom-boc. . . . That Alfred was assiduous to procure ^ to ^his 
people the blessing of a correct and able administration of justice, 
we have the general testimony of Asser.' 



234 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

3 Ibid. 2.87: 'His early predilection for the Saxon poetry and 
music had qualified him to assume the character of an harper; and 
thus disguised, he went to the Danish tents.' See also (ibid. 
2 ' 1 57~9) Alfred's version of the story of Orpheus and Eurydice. 
To Alfred as a 'deliverer' and 'defender' Wordsworth had pre- 
viously referred in the Convention of Cintra, Prose Works 1.203. 

4 Daniel, Works, ed. by Grosart, 4.107: 'Alfred, the .mirror 
of Princes.' 

9-10 Turner, op. cit. 2.275: 'Alfred was an exact economist of 
his time.' 

10 Wordsworth, note on Eccl. Son. 1.26: 'Through the whole 
of his life, Alfred was subject to grievous maladies.' Cf. Turner, 
op. cit. 2.309-10. 

12-14 Ibid. 2.297-9: 'His embassy to India, to the shrine of 
St. Thomas, is as expressive of his mind and public spirit as any 
other action of his life. No other potentate in Europe could in 
that day have conceived it, because no other had acquired that 
knowledge which would have interested them in a country so 
remote and unknown. The embassy displays not only the extent 
of Alfred's information, but that searching curiosity which charac- 
terized his understanding. . . . Malmsbury, who gives the fullest 
account of the incident, says that the king sent many presents 
over sea to Rome, and to St. Thomas, in India; that Sighelm, the 
bishop of Shireburn, was his ambassador, who penetrated with 
great success to India, to the admiration of the age; and that he 
brought with him, on his return, many foreign gems and aromatic 
liquors, the produce of the country. Cf. also the note, op. cit. 
2.300: ' In 870, three monks, desirous to see the places so celebrated 
in the Christian writings, undertook a journey thither [to Jerusalem]. 
Their itinerary, written by Bernard, one of the travellers, is extant.' 

1.27 

1-4 Daniel, Works, ed. by Grosart, 4.109: 'And within this 
circumference of order, he [Alfred] held him in that irregularity of 
fortune with a weak disposition of body, and reigned 27 years, 
leaving his son Edward a worthy successor to maintain the line of 
nobleness thus begun by him.' For the revision of these lines in 
1837, see p. 49. Cf. Daniel, op. cit. 4.111: 'Edred, his [Edmund's] 
brother preferred to the kingdom before them [Edmund's two 
sons]; who (making no variation from the line of virtue continued 
by his ancestors) was held perpetually in work by the Danes during 
the whole time of his reign, which was of ten years.' 

5 Ibid. 4.110: 'And surely his father [Alfred], he [Edward], and 
many that succeeded during this Danicq war, though they lost 
their ease, won much glory and renown.' Cf. 'Indigent Renown' 
in Eccl. Son. 1.26.4. 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 235 

6-7 Turner (Hist. AngL Sax. 2.314 ff.) recounts the dangers 
which threatened Edward: the attempt of Ethelwold to gain the 
throne, uprisings of the Danes, the invasion of Northmen from 
Armorica. Athelstan's danger was a confederation of Northmen, 
Anglo-Danes, Picts, Scots, Orkneymen, and Welsh. Turner's 
image (ibid. 2.331) is akin to that of Wordsworth: 'He [Athelstan] 
prepared to meet the storm with firmness and energy.' 

8-14 The figure of the oak-tree to represent a sturdy lineage is 
frequent in Daniel's Collection. Cf. op. cit. 4.123, 125. Words- 
worth had often used or referred to this figure: Convention of 
Cintra, Prose Works 1.227; Westmoreland 2, Prose Works 2.312. 
There was an oak at Michael's door (Michael 165). The Oak of 
Guernica, The Prior's Oak (White Doe 34), and the Lord's Oak 
(Excursion 7.622) were all associated in Wordsworth's mind with 
conceptions of dignity and power. To oak and sycamore he had 
compared the Wanderer and the Pastor (Excursion 5455-61). 
The same 'forest oaks of Druid memory' (Eccl. Son. 3.39.7) had 
spread over the early Christian monks: The Field of Oaks, Dear- 
mach [Durrow in Leinster], where Columba built a monastery 
(Bede, Eccl. Hist., tr. by Sellar, p. 142), and Augustine's Oak 
(Fuller, Ch. Hist. 1.89). The Dedication (45-54) of The White Doe 
has the image of forest-tree, and tempest breaking over wide realms; 
and the picture of Emily under the leafless oak (White Doe 1629- 
38) is similar to the quiet ending of this sonnet. Cf. Virgil, Georg. 
2.291-7. 

10-14 Daniel, op. cit. 4.112: 'He [Edgar] seems the first and 
most absolute monarch of this land that hitherto we find: the 
general peace that held all his tiriie honored his name with the title 
of Pacificus; and rendered his kingdom (never before acquainted 
with the glory of quietness) very flourishing. But as if the same 
had been given to show, and not to use (like a short calm betwixt 
storms), it lasted but little beyond his reign of sixteen years.' 

14 Knight, P. W.j Eversley ed., 7.26: 'As pre-eminently, in the 
wood by the road, half-way from Rydal to Ambleside.' Cf. 
Journals 1.221. Wordsworth in a letter to Alex. Dyce, May 10, 
1830 (Letters 2.427), quoted from the Countess of Winchelsea's 
Aristomenes, a passage of which this is reminiscent: 

Love's soft bands, 

His gentle cords of hyacinths and roses, 

Wove in the dewy spring when storms are silent. 

Cf. also The Tree, by the Countess of Winchelsea, in Poems and Ex- 
tracts . . . Lady Mary Lowther, ed. by Littledale, London, 1905, 
pp. 20-1. 

1.28 

1-14 This sonnet is a signal instance of Wordsworth's power 
over his material. His source was Turner's Hist. Angl. Sax. 2.385- 
418, 428-30. The essential ideas of these 35 pages are all present 
in the 14 lines of 1.28. 



236 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

1-2 Ibid. 2.391: 'Youthful ambition is the parent of much 
excellence,' and 'His means were the most honorable he could 
employ.' 

2 Ibid. 2.416: 'The best part of Dunstan's character was his 
taste for knowledge and the civilizing arts. The questionable 
features are those of his politics, and real or pretended enthusiasm.' 
Of Dunstan's cell in the earth Turner asks (ibid. 2.396) : ' Do not 
such singularities as these reveal either an inflamed imagination in 
the sincere, or a crafty ambition in the hypocritical? ' 

5 Of Dunstan's .dream that his mother was married to Christ, 
Turner remarks (ibid. 2.417): 'To the credulous, the assertion of 
Dunstan was sufficient evidence of this impious story. The more 
investigating were silenced by attempts to allegorize it.' 

6 Turner's discussion of Dunstan follows directly upon his 
account of the rise and progress of the Benedictine order (ibid. 
2.380-5); Fuller says (Ch. Hist. 2.145): 'First come forth the 
Benedictines, or Black Monks, so called from St. Benedict, or 
Benet, an Italian, first father and founder of that Order. Augustine 
the monk first brought them over into England; and these black- 
birds first nested in Canterbury, whence they have flown into all 
parts of the kingdom.' 

7-9 Of the opposition to a married clergy, Turner says (op. cit. 
2.418): '[Edgar] degraded majesty so far as to become himself the 
persecuting tool of Dunstan. ... At a public synod, convened to 
propagate the Benedictine revolution, Edgar delivered a speech for 
the party he espoused. In consequence of which, the clergy 
experienced a general persecution, and the monks were everywhere 
diffused with honor.' 

10-11 Turner (ibid. 2.416), giving as his authority MS. Cleop. 
6.13, p. 81, comments as follows: 'The Catholic hierarchy may 
accredit his supernatural gifts, but our sober reason cannot read 
but with surprise, that he claimed the power of conversing with 
the spiritual world. "I can relate one thing from himself," says 
his biographer, "that though he lived confined by a veil of flesh, 
yet whether awake or asleep, he was always abiding with the 
powers above."' 

12 Of his story that he pinched Satan's nose with red-hot tongs, 
Turner says (ibid. 2.397): 'The simple people are stated to have 
venerated the recluse for this amazing exploit. . . . All ages and 
ranks united to spread his fame.' 

13 Cf. Westmoreland 2, Prose Works 2.327: 'The people have 
ever been the dupes of extremes'; and Turner, op. cit. 2.395: 'The 
ambitious recluse pursues the phantom in his lonely cell, by extraor- 
dinary penances, and a superior superstition, ... [of Dunstan] 
with an earnestness which every year became more separated from 
moral principle.' 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 237 

14 Ibid. 2.389: 'To have excelled his contemporaries in mental 
pursuits, in the fine arts, though then imperfectly practised, and 
in mechanical labors, is evidence of an activity of intellect and 
an ardor for improvement which proclaim him to have been a 
superior personage, whose talents might have blessed the world.' 

1.29 

1-4 Wordsworth, note on Eccl. Son. 1.29: 'The violent measures 
carried on under the influence of Dunstan for strengthening the 
Benedictine Order were a leading cause of the second series of 
Danish invasions. See Turner.' 

1 The contest between Crown and Cowl goes back to the time 
of Edwin. (Turner, Hist. Angl. Sax. 2.408): 'It is probable that the 
popularity of the Benedictine reformation, of which Dunstan had 
made himself both the champion and the martyr, was the great 
engine by which Edwin was oppressed.' Cf. Fuller, Ch. Hist. 
i. 200: 'Yea, king Edgar was so wholly Dunstanized, that he gave 
over his soul, body, and estate to be ordered by him and two more, 
then the triumvirate who ruled England, namely, Ethelwald, 
bishop of Winchester, and Oswald, bishop of Worcester.' 

2 Of the events following upon Dunstan's death, Turner says 
(op. cit. 2.463-4): 'He had enjoyed his power during the first ten 
years of Ethelred's reign, but the civil dissensions which he appears 
to have begun and perpetuated unnerved the strength of ^the 
country. . . . Within three years afterwards, formidable invasions 
of the Danes began to occur. . . . Instead of assembling the nobles 
with an army sufficient to chastise the invaders, the council of 
Ethelred advised him to buy off the invaders!' 

3 Cf. ibid. 2.23 for the word 'incessant.' 

5-6 As also in the time of Alfred (ibid. 2.92-3). 

6-8 Fuller (Ch. Hist. 1,212-14) emphasizes Danish cruelty, and 
Turner (op. cit. 2.29) describes 'the clamors of the fierce pagans,' 
notably Ingwar and Ubbo of the first invasions, both of whom 
'were highly courageous and inordinately cruel' (ibid. 2.18).^ Of 
the second series of invasions the latter says (ibid. 2.454):^ 'And 
yet the happy change was beginning to emerge. ^ The principle of 
improvement was in existence, and its vegetation, though slow, 
was incessant and effectual.' He gives as reasons the growth of 
traffic, agriculture, grazing, the manual arts, and 'the lessons, 
though rude, of their new Christian clergy' (ibid. 2.456). 

9 Cf. ibid. 2.18: 'The collected tempest.' Cf. Milton, P. L. 
2.488-95. 

10-14 'Silently,' Sidney's adverb describing the activity of the 
moon, was borrowed by Wordsworth m*Misc. Son. 2.23. In The 
Excursion (9.384 ff.) 'the powers of civil polity' bestowed 'On 
Albion's noble Race in freedom born ' are said to be responsible for 



238 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

an effect similar to that of the Gospel-truth in 1.29.5, 'Change 
wide, and deep, and silently performed.' 'Silent as the moon' is 
Mil tonic (Samson Agonistes 87). Longfellow notes this when, in 
his notes on The Divine Comedy, he relates Inferno 1.60, 'where the 
sun is silent,' to other uses of this epithet, for instance, those of 
Cato (De Re Rustica 29 and 40) and Pliny (Nat. Hist. 16.39.74). 

1.30 

1-14 Cf. A Fact, and an Imagination 1-23, and the note on 
Eccl. Son. 1.26. The episode of the rhyme accordant to the chant 
of the monks in Ely is recounted by Dyer in his History of Cam- 
bridge. Turner was the chief resort of Wordsworth, however. 
Dyer refers to Turner in Hist. Camb. 1.135, JSS* an d it is more 
probable for this and other reasons (see p. 39) that Dyer has been 
the intermediary. 

1-5 Dyer, op. cit. 1.154: 

Merry sung the monks in Ely, 
When King Canute sailed by; 
Row, knights, near the land, 
And hear what these monks sang. 

This is the fragment of a song, .written as the king was on the river, 
and heard the monks of Ely chanting their devotions.' Cf. Turner, 
Hist. Angl. Sax. 3.317, from Hist. Elien.: 

Merry sang the monks in Ely, 
When Canute the king was sailing by; 
" Row, ye knights, near the land, 
"And let us hear these monks' song." 

6-8 Turner (op. cit. 2.509-10) quotes from the Encomium 
Emmae, p. 173, regarding Canute's journey to St. Omer's, at Rome: 
' Entering the monasteries, where he was received with great honor, 
he walked humbly, he fixed his eyes on the ground with wonderful 
reverence; and pouring out (if I may say so) rivers of tears, he 
implored the aid of the saints; ... in the proud master of so 
many conquered kingdoms, the emotions must have been those of 
his mind and heart.' Ibid. 2.501-2: 'The submission of England 
gave him leisure to turn the eye of ambition to the mountains of 
Norway.' 

ii Wordsworth, note on Eccl. Son. 1.30: 'Which is still extant.' 
Cf. Turner, op. cit. 3.322-3: 'The song of Canute on Ely was the 
composition of the eleventh century. . . . [It] is ... the oldest 
specimen of the dramatic or genuine ballad which we have in the 
Anglo-Saxon language.' 

12-14 Ibid. 2.497: 'He was formed by nature to tower amidst 
his contemporaries; but his country and his education intermixed 
his greatness with a ferocity that compels us to shudder while we 
admire. In one respect he was fortunate; his mind and manners 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 239 

refined as his age matured. The first part of his reign was cruel 
and despotic. His latter days shone with a glory more unclouded.' 
Cf. the preceding sonnet. 'Sternest,' 'rudest,' 'Piety, 'may be 
reminiscent of Turner's phrases: 'stern look' (ibid. 2.508), 'the 
ruder Danes' (ibid. 2.525), and 'the Pious' (ibid. 2.496). For 
'clime,' cf. Fuller (Ch. Hist. 1.215): 'Coming to Rome, Canutus 
turned convert, changing his condition with the climate.' 



I Daniel, Works, ed. by Grosart, 4.126: 'He [Edward] was a 
prince most highly renowned for his piety, and fit for no other 
than the calm time he had. For having been so long brought up 
with the nuns at Jumieges in Normandy, he scarce knew to be a 
man, when he came into England.' 

3-10 Daniel, Works, ed. by Grosart, 4.171, recounting the means 
used by William to establish his conquest: 'Thirdly, preventing 
their night-meetings with a heavy penalty, that every man at the 
day closing should cover his fire, and depart to his rest.' Bowles- 
(The Grave of the Last Saxon; or, The Legend of the Curfew, London, 
1822) treats the same theme with similar imagery. Cf. his lines 
(p- 15): 

As she pray'd, one pale small star, 

A still and lonely star, through the black night 

Look'd out, like Hope! 

i 12-14 Daniel, op. cit. 4.133: 'I come to write of a time wherein 
the State of England received an alteration of laws, customs, 
fashion, manner of living, language, writing, with new forms of 
fights, fortifications, buildings, and generally an innovation in most 
things but religion.' Refer to the 1822-1837 reading of line 14 
(p. 190): 'Brought to religion no injurious change.' Cf. Daniel, 
Civil War I, stanza 9. 

1.32 

1-14 This sonnet and the preceding one show an unwillingness 
in Wordsworth to accept the estimate of historians upon the 
Norman Conquest. The bias is uncorrected by any subsequent or 
compensatory praise for the benefits of Norman rule in England. 
Noticeable, too, is the omission of any reference to the great 
Anglo-Norman ecclesiastics, Lanfranc and Anselm. 

3-5 Daniel, Works, ed. by Grosart, 4.157: 'He utterly wasted 
and laid desolate all that goodly country between York and Dur- 
ham.' Chetwind (Anthologia Historica, p. 209) quotes Speed's 
History for an instance of William's cruelty: '[He] immediately 
entered France and fired all before him, and burnt the^ city of 
Nantes, in whose walls was enclosed an anchoret, who might but 
would not escape, holding it a breach of his religious vow to forsake 
his cell in that distress.' Wordsworth owned and had annotated 



240 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

Chetwind's Anthologia Historica. Cf. Bowles, The Grave of the 
Last Saxon, Introduction, p. x. 

5-8 ' Innocent distress' refers to the victims of Norman cruelty. 
Can 'penitent guilt' refer to William himself? Cf. Chetwind (op. 
cit.j p. 210), who again quotes from Speed: 'William the Conqueror 
dying, hearing the great bell ring Prime to our Lady, lifting up his 
hands, said: "I commend myself to that Blessed Lady Mary, 
Mother of God, that she by her holy prayers may reconcile me to 
her most dear Son, our Lord Jesus Christ," and with these words 
yielded up the ghost.' Stow (Chronicle, p. 122) gives William's 
words before death: 'Being laden with many and grievous sins 
(O Christ) I tremble, and being ready to be taken by and by unto 
the terrible examination of God, I am ignorant what I should do, 
for I have been brought up in the feats of arms, even from my 
childhood, I am greatly polluted with effusion of much blood, I 
can by no means number the evils which I have done.' 

9-11 Turner, Hist. Angl. Sax. 3.317-18: 'In his [Ingulfs] 
account of the chivalric hero, Hereward, who flourished in the time 
of Edward the Confessor and afterwards, he says, "His brave 
actions were sung in England." In another passage the monk 
informs us that Hereward died at last in peace, and was buried in 
their monastery, "after great battles, and a thousand dangers, 
frequently dared against the king, earls, barons, and magistrates, 
and bravely achieved, as is yet sung in the streets." ' That Turner 
did not know the chronicle of Ingulf to be a forgery is here un- 
important. He quotes Ingulf for the life of Hereward, and retails 
at length the circumstances under which the Saxon became an 
outlaw (ibid. 3.140) : ' It was in Flanders that Hereward heard that 
the Normans had conquered England; that his father was dead; 
that the Conqueror had given his inheritance to a Norman; and 
that his mother's widowhood was afflicted by many injuries and 
distresses [cf. 'innocent distress']. Transported with grief at the 
account, he hastened with his wife to England, and, collecting a 
body of her relations, he thundered on the oppressors of his mother, 
and drove them from her territory.' There follows an account of 
Hereward's consecration as a legitimate miles. 'Champion' may 
refer to Harold. 

12-14 I have found no evidence to connect these lines with 
Hereward. They may have been a reminiscence of the tradition 
in regard to Oswald (Bede, Eccl. Hist., tr. by Sellar, p. 154): 
'Whence it came to pass that many took up the very dust of the 
place where his body fell.' Harold was buried in Waltham Abbey. 
Cf. Bowles, op. cit. 

1-33 

1-14 This sonnet is a versification of Fuller, The Holy War, p. 
12. The passage is quoted in full, since it affords a notable instance 
of Wordsworth's power to select from, to arrange, and to clarify, 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 241 

his material. The italics are mine: 'But to return to Pope Urban, 
who was zealous in the cause to further it, and called a Council at 
Clermont in France, where met many Princes and Prelates to whom 
he made a long oration. Authors differ in the mould, but they 
agree in the metal, that it was to this effect: First, he bemoaned 
the miseries of the Christians in Asia, and the vastation of those 
holy places. Jerusalem, which was once the joy of the whole 
earth, was now become the grief of all good men: the Chapel of 
Christ's conception, at Nazareth, birth, at Bethlehem, burial, on 
mount Calvary, ascension, on mount Olivet, once the fountains of 
piety, were now become the sinks of all profaneness. Next he 
encouraged the Princes in the Council to take arms against those 
infidels, and to break their bonds in sunder, and to cast their cords 
far from them, and (as it is written) to cast out the handmaid and 
her children. Otherwise, if they would not help to quench their 
neighbors' houses, they must expect the speedy burning of their 
own, and that these barbarous nations would quickly overrun all 
Europe. Now, to set an edge on their courage, he promised to all 
that went this voyage a full remission of their sins, and penance 
here, and the enjoying heaven hereafter. Lastly, thus concluded, 
''Gird your swords to your thighs, ye men of might. It is our parts 
to pray, yours to fight; ours with Moses to hold up unwearied hands 
to God, yours to stretch forth the sword against these children of 
Amalek. Amen." 

It is above belief with what cheerfulness this motion, meeting 
with an active and religious world, was generally entertained; so 
that the whole assembly cried out, God willeth it [Deus vult]: a speech 
which was afterwards used as a fortunate watch-word in their most 
dangerous designs. Then took many of them a cross of red cloth 
on their right shoulder, as a badge of their devotion; and to gain 
the favorable assistance of the Virgin Mary to make this war the 
more happy, her office was instituted, containing certain prayers, 
which at canonical hours were to be made unto her. If fame, 
which hath told many a lie of others, be not herein belied herself, 
the things concluded in this Council were the same night reported at 
impossible distance in the utmost parts of Christendom. What 
spiritual intelligencers there should be, or what echoes in the hollow 
arch of this world should so quickly resound news from the one side 
thereof to the other, belongeth not to us to dispute.' 

6-8 Exodus 17.11. 

14 Knight (P. W., Eversley ed., 7.30) and N. C. Smith (Poems 
2.514) both refer this line to Fuller's Holy War. Wordsworth's 
note is as follows: 'The decision of this council was believed to be 
instantly known in remote parts of Europe.' The device of the 
echo had been used in White Doe 670-87, and is admirably fitted 
to the sestet of a sonnet. Cf. also Milton, Hymn on the Morning 
of Christ's Nativity 99-102, 174-5. 



242 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

1-34 

1-14 Fuller, The Holy War, p. 14. The italics are mine: 'Now 
that the Mahometans (under whom the Turks and "Saracens are 
comprehended, differing in nation, agreeing in religion and spite 
against Christians) were now justly to be feared, cannot be denied. 
So vast was the appetite of their sword, that it had already devoured 
Asia, and now reserved Grecia for the second course. The Bosporus 
was too narrow a ditch, and the Empire of Grecia too low an hedge to 
fence the Pagans out of West- Christendom: yea, the Saracens had 
lately wasted Italy, pillaged and burned many churches near Rome 
itself, conquered Spain, inroded Aquitaine, and possessed some 
islands in the mid-land-sea. The case therefore standing thus, this 
Holy war was both lawful and necessary: which like unto a sharp 
pike in the boss of a buckler, though it had a mixture of offending, 
yet it was chiefly of a defensive nature, to which all preventive 
wars are justly reduced.' 

9-10 Letter to the Bishop of Llandaff, Prose Works 1.26: 'The 
incendiary of the Crusades, the hermit Peter.' Cf. also Kilchurn 
41-3- 

1-35 

I Daniel, Works, ed. by Grosart, 5.26: 'This lion-like king/ 
Cf. Fuller, Ch. Hist. 1.323-4. 

2-3 Fuller (The Holy War, p. 119), quoting Roger Hoveden: 
'At Tours he took his pilgrim's scrip and staff from the Archbishop. 
His staff at the same time casually brake in pieces; which some 
(whose dexterity lay in sinister interpreting all accidents) construed 
a token of ill success.' 

4 Cf. 'mid-land-sea' (ibid., p. 14). 

5-7 Daniel, op. cit. 5.7: 'And during his abode [in Sicily] . . . 
his Mother-queen Elioner . . . came unto him, bringing with her 
Berenguela, daughter to the King of Navarre, who was there 
fianced unto him. Which done, queen Elioner departs home by 
the way of Rome, and the young lady with the Queen-dowager of 
Sicily take their journey with the King; who sets forth with an 
hundred and thirty ships and fifty galleys, and was by tempest 
driven to the Isle of Cyprus; where, being denied landing, he 
assails the Isle on all sides, subdues it, places his garrisons therein, 
and commits the custody of the same to Richard de Canvile and 
Robert de Turnham, taking half the goods of the inhabitants from 
them; in lieu thereof he confirmed the use of their own laws. And 
here, our histories say, he married the Lady Berenguela, and caused 
her to be crowned queen. . . . From hence passes this famous 
King to the Holy Land.' Cf. Fuller, op. cit., p. 121: 'And because 
Cyprus by antiquity was celebrated as the seat of Venus, that so 
it might prove to him, in the joyous month of May he solemnly 
took to wife his beloved Lady Beringaria.' 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 243 

10 Dyer (Hist. Camb. i. facing 63) gives an engraving of 
Richard I with a battle-axe. 

10-11 Fuller, op. cit., p. 127, of the march to Jerusalem: 
' Richard led the vantguard of English. . . . Saladine, serpent-like 
biting the heel, assaulted the rear, not far from Bethlehem; when 
the French and English wheeling about charged the Turks most 
furiously. . . . King Richard seeking to put his courage out of 
doubt, brought his judgment into question, being more prodigal of 
his person than beseemed a general. One wound he received, but 
by losing his blood he found his spirits, and laid about him like 
a mad-man.' 

12 Ibid., p. 123, of Richard's massacre of Turkish captives: 
'For which fact he suffered much in his repute, branded with 
rashness and cruelty, as the murderer of many Christians; for 
Saladine in revenge put as many of our captives to death.' 

13 Fuller, ibid., p. 112, on the abuse of the office of titular 
bishop: 'His Holiness hath a facile and cheap way both to gratify 
and engage ambitious spirits, and such chameleons as love to feed 
on air.' Cf. also Daniel, op. cit. 5.106: 'Many now began to 
discover that the Pope, by this embarking the princes of Christen- 
dom in this remote and consuming war, to waste them, their 
nobility, and kingdom, was but only to extend his own power 
and domination.' 

1.36 

i For the excommunication of the King of England and, in the 
same year, the Emperor Otho, see Daniel (Works, ed. by Grosart, 
5.44-5) ; see also his account (ibid. 5.66) of the excommunication 
of Louis. 

2-4 Fuller (Ch. Hist. 1.336) gives the effects of the interdict, 
among them 'a terrible impression made in men's minds of the 
pope's power, which they had often heard of, and now saw and 
felt, whose long arm could reach from Rome all over England, and 
lock the doors of all churches there; an emblem that, in like manner, 
he had or might have bolted the gates of heaven against them. ' 

5-6 Cf. Inscriptions 4.18, of which Wordsworth wrote (Letters 
T -537)' 'I ought to mention that the line "And things of holy use 
unhallowed lie" is taken from the following of Daniel: "Straight 
all that holy was unhallowed lies" ' [see Musophilus, stanza 46]. 

5-12 Fuller, op. cit. 1.335-6: 'See now on a sudden the sad face 
of the English church! a face without a tongue, no singing of 
service, no saying of mass, no reading of prayers; as for preaching 
of sermons, the laziness and ignorance of those times had long 
before interdicted them. None need pity the living (hearing the 
impatient complaints of lovers, for whose marriage no license could 
be procured), when he looks on the dead, who were buried in 
ditches, like dogs, without any prayers said upon them.' 



244 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

12-14 Ibid. 1.336: 'Seeing these people believed that a grave 
in consecrated ground was a good step to heaven, and were taught 
that prayers after their death were essential to their salvation, it 
must needs put strange fears into the heads and hearts both of 
such which deceased and their friends which survived them.' 

1-37 

1-8 Directly before this sonnet in MS. F comes the sonnet now 
printed with Memorials Tour Cont. 1820 as XXXIV. The 'uncouth 
proximities' and 'bold transfigurations' may very well be those of 
MS. F (p. 91). Cf. Dorothy Wordsworth's description of 'the 
sky's fantastic element' seen by herself, Mary Wordsworth, and 
Wordsworth on their journey home from the marriage, 1802 
(Journals 1.150-1). Cf. Convention of Cintra, Prose Works 1.193. 

9 Fuller, Ch. Hist. 1.317: 'Nor did only the purse, but the 
person, of King Henry do penance; who, walking some miles 
barefoot, suffered himself to be whipped on the naked back by the 
monks of Canterbury.' 

10-12 Daniel, Works, ed. by Grosart, 5.49-50: '[King John] 
not only grants restitution and satisfaction of whatever had been 
taken from the Archbishop and the monks of Canterbury, the 
Bishops of London, Ely, Bath, and Lincoln (who were fled to the 
Archbishop); but also lays down his crown, scepter, mantle, sword, 
and ring, the ensigns of his royalty, at the feet of Pandolphus, 
delivering up therewithal the kingdom of England to the Pope, 
and submits himself to the judgment and mercy of the Church.' 

12-13 Ibid. 5.53-4: 'A Parliament is assembled in Pauls, 
wherein the Archbishop of Canterbury produces a charter of King 
Henry the First, whereby he granted the ancient liberties of the 
kingdom of England . . . according to the laws of King Edward. 
. . . And this charter being read before the barons, they much 
rejoiced, and swore in the presence of the Archbishop that for these 
liberties they would, if need required, spend their blood.' Daniel's 
list of events follows (ibid. 5.56-63) : 

1 King John bribes the Pope and renews his oath. 
The interdiction released. 
The famous battle of Boyines. 
King John takes upon him the cross to secure 

himself from the barons. 
The lords seize on the King's castles. 
The lords repair to London. 
King John forsaken of his people. 
The King sends to levy foreign forces.' 

14 Ibid. 5.63: 'And, had not Hugh de Boues (to whom the 
countries of Suffolk and Norfolk were allotted for service to be 
done), setting forth from Calice with forty thousand more (men, 
women, and children), been by a sudden tempest drowned in the 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 245 

sea, he had made an universal conquest of the kingdom far more 
miserable than the Norman; considering that with those he had, he 
wrought so much as we shall hear presently he did.' 

1.38 

1-14 Wordsworth, Fenwick note on Eccl. Son.: 'The sonnets 
were written long before ecclesiastical history and points of doctrine 
had excited the interest with which they have been recently en- 
quired into and discussed. The former particular is mentioned as 
an excuse for my having fallen into error in respect to an incident 
which had been selected as setting forth the height to which the 
power of the Popedom over temporal sovereignty had attained, 
and the arrogance with which it was displayed. I allude to the 
last sonnet but one in the first series, where Pope Alexander the 
Third at Venice is described as setting foot on the neck of the 
Emperor Barbarossa. Though this is related as a fact in history, 
I am told it is a mere legend of no authority. Substitute for it an 
undeniable truth not less fitted for my purpose, namely the penance 
inflicted by Gregory the Seventh upon the Emperor Henry the 
Fourth.' 

i Cf. Desc. Sk. 69-70. 

2-9 Foxe (Acts and Monuments 1.185) gives a lively account 
of this scene, and a picture of ' Pope Alexander treading on the 
neck of Frederick the Emperor': 'In this most do agree, that the 
Pope being at Venice, and required to be sent of the Venetians to 
the Emperor, they would not send him. Whereupon Fredericus 
the Emperor sent thither his son Otho, with men and ships well 
appointed, charging him not to attempt anything before his coming. 
The young man, more hardy than circumspect, (joining with the 
Venetians) was overcome, and so taken, was brought into the city. 
Hereby the Pope took no small occasion to work his feats. 

'The father, to help the captivity and misery of his son, was 
compelled to submit himself to the Pope, and to entreat for peace. 
So the Emperor, coming to Venice (at St. Mark's church, where 
the bishop was, there to take his absolution), was bid to kneel dowm 
at the Pope's feet. 

'The proud Pope, setting his foot upon the Emperor's neck, said 
the verse of the Psalm [91.13]: "Super aspidem et basiliscum 
ambulabis, et conculcabis leonem et draconem"; that is, "Thou 
shalt walk upon the adder and on the basilisk, and shalt tread down 
the lion and the dragon." To whom the Emperor, answering 
again, said: "Non tibi sed Petro," that is, "Not to thee but to 
Peter." The Pope again: "Et mihi, et Petro," "Both to me and 
to Peter." The Emperor, fearing to give any occasion of further 
quarrelling, held his peace, and so was absolved, and peace made 
between them.' 



246 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

5-7 Has Wordsworth mistaken Frederick Barbarossa of whom 
Fuller says (Holy War, pp. 114-15) 'Saladin shook for fear, hearing 
of his coming [1190]. . . . But Frederick the Emperor, being now 
entering into the Holy Land, was to the great grief of all Christians 
suddenly taken away, being drowned in the river of Saleph,' for 
Frederick II, whose exploits in the Holy Land Fuller retails at 
length (ibid., pp. 159-64)? The humiliation of the former was sup- 
posed to take place in 1164; the latter, Fuller says, was excommuni- 
cated by Gregory the Ninth in 1227, and lived to return from Pales- 
tine. 

10-14 Foxe (Acts and Monuments 1.719, 720, 721, 722, 723, 
724,725) gives pictures of papal abuse; in them are evident on 
the faces of the 'crowd' 'amazement,' 'sorrow,' 'abject sympathy,' 
and 'scorn.' 

1-39 
I Shakespeare, Measure for Measure 3.1.122: 

To be imprisoned in the viewless winds. 

Cf. Letters 2.42; and White Doe 1834. 'Viewless' occurs in such 
diverse poems as Charlotte Smith's sonnet, Night, 'To sullen surges 
and the viewless wind,' and Abel Shufflebottom's [Southey's] second 
Elegy on Delia, 'viewless feet.' Dorothy Wordsworth had com- 
plained of Wordsworth's use of it in An Evening Walk and Desc. 
Sketches (Letters 1.50). 

3-4 Daniel, Works, ed. by Grosart, 5.45: 'A predomination 
beyond the bounds allowed unto piety, which was only to deal with 
men's souls, and not their estates.' 

5 The 'Bard' may well have been Virgil: 'quis enim modus 
adsit amori' (Ec. 2.68) and 'omnia vincit Amor' (Ec. 10.69). 

6-7 Virgil, dEneid 6.853, of the imperial power of Rome: ' Parcere 
subiectis et debellare superbos.' Foxe (Acts and Mon. 1.184) gives 
Pope Adrian's letter to the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa: 'We 
are taught by the word of truth, that every one, the which exalteth 
himself, shall be brought low.' 

8 Foxe, ibid. 1.164, quoting the bull of Hildebrand for the 
second excommunication of Henry: 'Therefore, O you blessed 
princes of the apostles, grant to this, and confirm with your author- 
ity that I have said, so that all men may understand, if you have 
power to bind and loose in heaven, you have also power in earth 
to give and take away empire, kingdoms, principalities, and what- 
soever here in earth belongeth to mortal men. For if you have 
power to judge in such matters as appertain to God, what then 
should we think you have of these inferior and profane things? 
And if it be in your power to judge the angels, ruling over proud 
princes, what then. shall it beseem you to do upon their servants?' 
Cf. Processions 64-7, in Mem. Tour. Cont. 1820. 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 247 

9 Fuller, Ch. Hist. 1.337, on the excommunication of John and 
Otho: 'For now his Holiness had his hand in, having about this 
time excommunicated Otho the German Emperor; and if the 
imperial cedar had so lately been blasted with his thunderbolts, no 
wonder if the English oak felt the same fire.' 

10-14 Daniel, op. cit. 5.48: 'But now the Pope, for the last 
and greatest sentence that ever yet was given against any sovereign 
king of this kingdom, pronounces his absolute deposition from the 
royal government thereof, and writes to the King of France, that 
as he looked to have remission of his sins, he should take the charge 
upon him, and expel King John out of the kingdom of England, 
and possess the same for him and his heirs for ever.' 

2.1 

1-14 For the date of this sonnet, see pp. 29-30, 54. 
1-4 One of the few references in Eccl. Son. to ecclesiastical 
doctrine. 

3 Milton, P. L. 3.221: 'The deadly forfeiture.' 

7 Milton, Hymn on the Morning of Christ's Nativity 30: 'While 
the Heav'n-born childe.' 'Heaven-born' is used by Wordsworth 
nine times; and once each, 'heaven-blest,' 'heaven-deserted,' 
'heaven-eyed,' 'heaven-guided,' 'heaven-imparted,' 'heaven-lit'; 
'heaven-directed' occurs twice in his poems, and 'heaven-de- 
scended' three times. 

8 Cf. Excursion 4.908: 'The weeds of Romish phantasy.' 
9-14 Cf. Epitaphs 2, Prose Works 2.147: '[The churchyard] is 

a far more faithful representation of homely life as existing among 
a community in which circumstances have not been untoward, 
than any report which might be made by a rigorous observer 
deficient in that spirit of forbearance and those kindly preposses- 
sions without which human life can in no condition be profitably 
looked at or described.' 

2.2 

1-14 For the date of this sonnet, see pp. 29-30, 54. - How far 
this late attempt to do 'justice to the papal Church for the services 
which she did actually render to Christianity and humanity in the 
Middle Ages' (facsimile, p. 32) is due to definite experience, or to 
reading, it is hard to say. Did Wordsworth know Kenelm Henry 
Digby's Mores Catholici as he knew his Broadstone of Honour? He 
had read and annotated the Letters of Pope Clement XIV (Catalogue 
of the Library of Walter Thomas Wallace; Wordsworth's copy of 
this book is said to bear the inscription 'Bought at Ambleside, 
April, 1825'). Cf. 'spiritual tower,' 'gentle,' 'Justice and Peace,' 
'sheltering,' 'abused,' with the following passage of Clement's 
Letters, edition of 1793, Dublin, 1.286: 'But the world will never 



248 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

be without abuses; if they are not in one place, they are in another, 
because imperfections are the natural inheritance of humanity. 
"There is none but the holy City," said the great Augustine, 
"where all will be in order, in peace, and in charity; for there 
shall be the Kingdom of God." ' Cf. also Clement's Circular Letter 
on his advancement (ibid. 1.3); in it recur the words 'tenderness' 
and 'justice.' Southey's account of the papal system may be read 
in his Book of the Church (1.292 ff.). Cf. Milton, P. R. 1.219, 4-83- 

2-3 

i~5 Wordsworth, note on 2.3: '"Bonum est nos hie esse, quia 
homo vivit purius, cadit rarius, surgit velocius, incedit cautius, 
quiescit securius, moritur felicius, purgatur citius, praemiatur 
copiosius." Bernard. "This sentence," says Dr. Whitaker, "is 
usually inscribed in some conspicuous part of the Cistertian 
houses."' Cf. Whitaker's An History of the Original Parish of 
Whalley and the Honor of Clitheroe, second edition, 1806, p. 48, 
where Bernard's words are used to introduce book 2, chapter 2, 
Locus Benedictus de Whalley. Whitaker's note reads: 'A sentence 
usually inscribed on some conspicuous part of the Cistertian houses.' 
The passage from Bernard is also quoted by Weever (Funeral 
Monuments, London, 1757, pp. cxxxii-cxxxiii), and follows a similar 
statement: 'In his time [Bernard's], by himself and his means, one 
hundred and six abbeys of this order were built and re-established; 
upon the fore front or some other places within these abbeys, this 
sentence is most commonly depenciled, graven, or painted; taken 
out of St. Bernard.' I am indebted to Monsignor John T. Slattery 
for help in tracing the Bernardine passage to the Homilia de Bonis 
Margaritis. This is printed by Mabillon (Sancti Bernardi Opera 
Omnia, vol. ii, pars altera, torn, v, I536C, in the 4th edition, Paris, 
1839) as Homilia, In illud Matthaei, cap. XIII 45: Simile est 
regnum coelorum homini negotiatori quaerenti bonas margaritas. 
Mabillon says: 'Tribuiter communiter Bernardo, quanquam nee 
illius videatur. Deest apud Horstium.' The passage differs some- 
what from the version given by Weever, Whitaker, and Words- 
worth: 'Nonne haec religio sancta, pura et immaculata, in qua 
homo vivit purius, cadit rarius, surgit velocius, incedit cautius, 
irroratur frequentius, quiescit securius, moritur fiducius, purgatur 
citius, praemiatur copiosius?' Again through the courtesy of 
Monsignor Slattery, I am able to quote from an investigation 
made in the Convent of the Sacred Heart, Manhattanville, New 
York City, '(i) ^The passage as quoted for the Inscription is 
undoubtedly genuine. It is part of the Speculum Religio sum which 
does the work of admonition in monasteries where habitual silence 
is observed. Among the Cistercians these inscriptions are mostly 
taken from St. Bernard's sayings or Scripture. . . . They are found 
in the hall, over the gates, in refectory, sacristy, etc. The habit comes 
into the Benedictine Order as early as Alcuin. ... (2) The fact 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 249 

that the Inscription slightly differs from the text of the sermon has, 
I believe, no critical significance as a variant. The prefatory 
"Bonum est nos hie esse" is itself not only a scriptural phrase but 
a Bernardine one also. It is the answer to the "Cur hie" which 
in the sermon takes the form "Nonne haec religio, " addressing the 
question to the brethren. But as a tessera on the monastery wall 
it is a simple statement recalling the "Pax" of the old Founder, 
St. Benedict, as the promise of the religious life. Similarly must 
the omission of the phrase "irroratur frequentius" and the sub- 
stitution of "felicius" for "fiducius" be explained. The former as 
the "aspersio aquae benedictae" belongs to the Abbot and the 
celebrant of Mass. Its propriety in the sermon would be lost in 
an inscription. And though a preacher may convey his meaning 
and stir devotion by the use of a word like "fiducius," which is 
bad Latin though good etymology, the word "felicius" is the one 
St. Bernard or a Bernardine would use in writing. (3) ... As 
Mabillon gives no reference as to whence be got this sermon, . . . 
we are constrained to believe that he found it among the sermons 
of Guericius, whom he mentions in his preface to the Additamenta 
as his source. There is an edition of Guerrici's Sermones, but 
obviously this is not among them. The editors of the Opera 
S. Bernardi published before Horstius do not appear to have 
known the sermon; at least I find no mention in those examined, 
the first of which is a Venice edition of 1549 by Franciscus 
Comestor, of the Paris Sorbonne, which bears the legend "opera 
quae in hunc usque diem extare noscuntur." ... [It may be] 
that Mabillon discovered the MS. in some monastery during 
his journeys, made as we know with the special object of collecting 
the authentic works of St. Bernard. . . . Only experts could have 
told from paleographical tokens that this sermon of the "Margarita 
pretiosa" was not to be attributed to St. Bernard; for such phrases 
as "quae mens cogitare, quis intellectus plene cognoscere, quae 
lingua humana te poterit sufficienter et digne extollere? o religio 
gloriosa et mirabilis," echo the "Dulcis memoria" to perfection.' 

5 Wordsworth's poetry contains other memorials of the 'Cis- 
tertian wall.' Tintern Abbey, 'Bolton's old monastic tower,' and 
Furness Abbey, all belonged to this order. Cf. Journals 1.143 an d 
1.150. In Prelude 2.55-65 and 95-107 Wordsworth bears witness 
that his memories of oarsmanship and horsemanship were bound up 
with images of monastic architecture: 'the shrine once to our Lady 
dedicate,' 'the abbey to St. Mary's honour built.' And in Excursion 
3.392-420 he had made the Solitary a spokesman for monastic 
quiet, the 'undissolving fellowship,' the 'yearning,' 'the universal 
instinct of repose.' 

10-n Whitaker, History and Antiquities of the Deanery of 
Craven, London, 1805, p. 38: 'The influence of the earlier monks 
on the laity of all ranks and descriptions was prodigious; in fact 
they nearly monopolized the arts, the learning, and the religion of 



250 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

their times. Cooled by modern philosophy, accustomed to modern 
elegance, and diverted by a thousand other objects of attention, 
we still continue to be delighted and astonished with their archi- 
tecture. . . . The pomp and pageantry of their worship steals 
insensibly upon the imagination, in defiance of enlightened reason, 
of Protestant principle, and of perceptions blunted by factitious 
enjoyments of every kind: how easy then must it have been to 
bribe the senses of rustics.' 

12-14 Turner (Hist. AngL Sax. 3.528), in his account of the 
building of the Benedictine monastery of Ramsey, supplied Words- 
worth with the images for these three lines: 'The ealdorman 
[said] that he had some hereditary land surrounded with marshes, 
and remote from human intercourse. It was near a forest [cf. 
'sylvan'] of various sorts of trees, which had several open spots of 
good turf, and others of fine grass for pasture. . . . Artificers were 
collected. The neighborhood joined in the labor. Twelve monks 
came from another cloister to form the new fraternity. Their 
cells and a chapel were soon raised. In the next winter they 
provided the iron and timber and utensils that were wanted for a 
handsome church. In the spring, amid the fenny soil, a firm 
foundation was laid. The workmen labored as much from devotion 
as for profit. Some brought the stones; others made the cement; 
others applied to the wheel machinery that raised them on high. 
And in a reasonable time, the sacred edifice, with two towers, 
appeared on what had been before a desolate waste; and Abbo, 
celebrated for his literature, was invited from Fleury to take charge 
of the schools that were appended to it.', 

2.4 

1-14 This sonnet, originally published in the volume of 1835, 
was there placed after the Stanzas Suggested in a Steamboat off St. 
Bees 1 Heads, Wordsworth's most generous account of monasticism. 
The evident similarity of the sonnet and lines 136-44 of the 
Stanzas indicates that the conceptions were identical : 

Who with the ploughshare clove the barren moors, 
And to green meadows changed the swampy shores?! 
Thinned the rank woods; and for the cheerful grange 
Made room where wolf and boar were used to range? 
Who taught, and showed by deeds, that gentler chains 
Should bind the vassal to his lord's domains? 
The thoughtful Monks, intent their God to please, 
For Christ's dear sake, by human sympathies 
Poured from the bosom of thy Church, St. Bees! 

Cf. Turner, Hist. AngL Sax. 3.108-9: 'If the mass of the Anglo- 
Saxon population had continued in this servile state, the progress 
of the nation in the improvements of society would have been very 
small. But a better destiny awaited them; the custom of manu- 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 251 

mission began, and the diffusion of Christianity, by mildly at- 
tempering the feelings of the individual, and by compelling him to 
cultivate acts of benevolence as a religious duty, increased the 
prevalence of the practice.' Of the slaves Turner says (ibid. 3.103) : 
1 They were bought and sold with land, and were conveyed in the 
grants of it promiscuously with the cattle and other property 
upon it.' 

2-5 . 

1-4 Fuller (Ch. Hist. 1.398-9) enumerates as English schoolmen 
Alexander Hales, Roger Bacon, Richard Middleton, John Duns 
Scotus, Gualter Burley, John Baconthorpe, William Ocham 
(POccam), Robert Holcot, and Thomas Bradwardine; respectively: 
doctors irrefragabilis, mirabilis, fundatissimus, subtilis, approbatus, 
resolutus, singularis, (no title for Holcot), profundus. Whitaker 
(Hist. Craven, p. 38) refers to the many-sided life of the cloister, 
its 'talents for intrigue and government, for husbandry, internal 
economy, arithmetic, architecture, painting, music, calligraphy, 
instruction of youth, entertainment of strangers, epistolary corre- 
spondence, medicine, canon law, and theology.' 

3-7 Fuller particularly mentions William of Occam, a supporter 
of Lewis of Bavaria against the pope; Occam exhorted his master 
in these words (op. cit. 1.402): ' Defende me gladio, et ego te 
defendam verbo.' Moreover, since Wordsworth would have been 
familiar with Thomas Bradwardine through Chaucer's Nun's 
Priest's Tale 420-2, he would be apt to make especial note of 
Fuller's description of Bradwardine (op. cit. 1.431): 'He was 
confessor to King Edward III, whose miraculous victories in France 
some impute more to this man's devout prayers than either to the 
policy or prowess of the English nation.' The likelihood that it 
is Bradwardine's 'fervent exhortations' to which Wordsworth refers 
finds support in a description of the 'fair court of Edward' two 
sonnets farther on, 2.7. Cf. Montalembert's account of Bernard 
(Monks of the West, Edinburgh and London, 1861, 1.2); and, as 
Professor Cooper suggests, Bacon's reference to Aristotle and Alex- 
ander in Book I of the Advancement of Learning (ed. by Cook, p. n). 
Cf. also White Doe 290-307, and 97^-9. 

10-11 Professor Cooper suggests that 'yoke of thought' may 
refer to Aquinas, 'the dumb Ox.' Likewise 'subtle' recalls -Duns 
Scotus, 'doctor subtilis.' Cf. Bacon, op. cit., pp. 31-2. 

ii Cf. the famous figure in Boethius' Consolation of Philosophy, 
' Vestes erant tenuissimis filis subtili artificio . . . perfectae.' 

12-14 The transition from 'the intellectual sphere' to 'the 
starry throng' was a familiar one in Wordsworth's sources. Dyer 
(Hist. Camb. 1.147) wrote of the schoolmen^ 'They dwelt on 
principles, matter, form, and essences; distinctions often too nice 
to be seen, or too mysterious to be understood. They had, how- 
ever, a Latin translation of Euclid, and professed to teach astron- 



252 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

omy.' Turner (Hist. Angl. Sax. 3.429), referring to the subjects 
of the scholastic education at York in the eighth century, quotes 
Gale, Hist. Brit. Scriptores XV, p. 728: 'The harmony of the sky, 
the labor of the sun and moon, the five zones, the seven wandering 
planets. The laws, risings, and settings of the stars, and the aerial 
motions of the sea; earthquakes; the natures of man, cattle, birds, 
and wild beasts; their various species and figures; the sacred 
Scriptures.' 

Wordsworth's other estimate of Schoolmen, Misc. Son. 2.32, is 
not so benign. Since ' Dogmatic Teachers,' 'wrangling Schoolmen/ 
'subtle speculations haply vain,' and 'far-fetched themes' were 
phrases brought to publication in 1820, the two years succeeding 
saw a marked change in Wordsworth's attitude toward the exercises 
of mediaeval philosophy, a change possibly caused by sympathetic 
research. Cf. Prelude 6.294-305. 

2.6 

1-14 Dyer (Hist. Camb. 1.2-3) nas a passage in which occur the 
main ideas of Red. Son. 2.5, 2.6, 2.7, 2.8, 2.11: 'True it is, these 
times were the periods so bustling, and military, and full of events: 
private feuds and public insurrections left little room for the calm 
studies of literature; wars and devastations, massacres, rebellions 
and revolutions, were the ordinary occurrences, diversified indeed, 
and, it may be, somewhat embellished by feats of chivalry, and 
tales of romance. It was the age of refined savagery. Philosophy 
was not to be found in the halls of princes, nor in the castles of 
their nobles; their ambition was in the field, and their profession 
was only arms. But they had moments of pause and reflection; 
then they founded religious houses and colleges. Thither, as to a 
focus, all their scattered rays of knowledge were drawn; and all we 
can know of their philosophy and literature we must be content to 
gather amidst dreams of monks, and impostures of the priesthood.' 

2 Baker, Chronicle, p. 136, of Edward III: 'No man was more 
gentle, where there was submission; where opposition, no man 
more stern.' 

4 Daniel (Works, ed. by Grosart, 5.288-9), recounts the 'works 
of piety' of Edward III, among them 'his augmenting the chapel 
at Windsor, and provisions there for churchmen, and 24 poor 
knights.' 

2.7 

1-14 Cf. the first note on 2.6. 

1-5 'Sounds,' 'gleam,' and 'fragrance' indicate the appeal 
Wordsworth would make to the three senses. He possessed Stow's 
Chronicle, and might well have read the account there given (pp. 
227-77) f the pomp, jousts, and feasts of Edward's reign. 

6-8 Wordsworth's verses in imitation of Juvenal (Letters 1.94) 
refer to Edward as 'the flower of chivalry.' Cf. Spenser, Pro- 
thalamion, stanza 9. 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 253 

9-12 Stow, op. cit., p. 227: 'This prince was endued with 
passing beauty and favor, o wit provident [cf. 'wisdom'], circum- 
spect, and gentle of nature [cf. 'magnanimity and love']; of 
excellent modesty and temperance' [cf. 'meekness tempering']. 
The words 'magnanimity' and 'meek' occur in another description 
of Edward (ibid., p. 269 [276]) : he was 'devout in God's service, 
for he had the Church and Ministers thereof in great reverence.' 

13-14 The reference is to the amity between Church and State. 

13 John 1.29; Isaiah n.6. The lion is the national emblem. 

14 The eagle as the symbol of the regal power recalls Virgil 
(JEneid 6.779) and Dante (Paradiso 6.1-111). For 'dove' and 
'eagle' cf. Virgil (Ec. 9.11-13). The 'dove' may be referred to 
Matthew 3.16-17. 

2.8 

1-5 Dyer, after a discussion of scholastic learning, Hist. Camb. 
1.146: 'Dr. Cave in his Historia Literaria gives to each age a 
discriminating title. This he might have called the dreaming 
age. Dreams may be often delectable, and present shadows of 
realities; but he who would behold substance should approach it 
with open eyes; he who would perceive truth must investigate it, 
but with faculties wide awake.' 

5-6 Fuller, Holy War, pp. 262-3: ' Of the numberless Christians 
which lost their lives in this service. . . . But enough of this 
doleful subject. If young physicians with the first fee for their 
practice are to purchase a new churchyard, Pope Urban the 
second might well have bought some ground for graves when he 
first persuaded this bloody project; whereby he made all Jerusalem 
Golgotha, a place for skulls; and all the Holy Land, Aceldama, a 
field of blood.' 

6-8 Cf. Prelude. 2.117 and White Doe 126-35. 

9-14 Wordsworth, Prose Works 2.150: 

'Farwel my Frendys, the tyd abidyth no man, 
I am departed hens, and so sal ye, 
But in this passage the best song I can 
Is Requiem Eternam, now Jesu grant it me. 
When I have ended all myn adversity 
Grant me in Paradys to have a mansion 
That shedst Thy bloud for my redemption. 

This epitaph might seem to be of the age of Chaucer, for it has the 
very tone and manner of the Prioress' Tale. 1 

2:9 

1-14 For the date of this sonnet, see pp. 29-30, 54. 

2-5 Written late in life, this sonnet is notable for the double 
occurrence of the word 'Unity,' which can be found once again in 
Eccl. Son. (3.15.7), and only four times more throughout the poems. 



254 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

6 'Works of Art' as the result of 'Unity' indicate the funda- 
mental truth of Wordsworth's later years, a criterion toward which 
his career steadily progressed. Cf. Lycoris 37-41 : 

But something whispers to my heart 
That as we downward tend, 
Lycoris! life requires an art 
To which our souls must bend; 
A skill to balance and supply. 

9-14 ^ Cf. Eccl. Son. 3.35, 38, 39, 42, 43, 44, of which this sonnet 
is reminiscent. 

2.10 

1-14 t The figure of which Wordsworth had made a political 
application in Convention of Cintra (Prose Works 1.119 an d 
1.274) and in Westmoreland 2 (ibid. 2.326) he found by Heylin 
applied to the Anglican Church (Cyp. AngL, p. 499): 'It hath 
flourished, and been a shelter to other neighboring Churches, when 
storms have driven upon them; but alas! now it is in a storm 
itself and God only knows whether, or how, it shall get out; and 
(which is worse than the storm from without) it is become like an 
oak cleft to shivers with wedges made out of its own body, and at 
every cleft profaneness and irreligion is entering in.' The verbal 
similarity of this sonnet to the passage in Westmoreland 2 is marked: 
' I am conscious of the sad deterioration, and no one can lament it 
more deeply; but sufficient vitality is left in the stock of ancient 
virtue to furnish hope that, by a careful manuring, and skilful 
application of the knife to withered branches, fresh shoots might 
thrive in their place were it not for the base artifices of malignants, 
who, pretending to invigorate the tree, pour scalding water and 
corrosive compounds [cf. 'bane'] among its roots; so that the fibres 
are killed in the mould by which they have been nourished.' 
Milton uses similar images in Reformation and D'efensio Prima. Cf. 
also the notes on Eccl. Son. 1.27. For the date of this sonnet, see 
pp. 29-30, 54. 

2. II 

1-8 Cf. Journals 2.167 fo r one of several accounts of services 
attended during the tour on the Continent, 1820. 

9-14 Fuller, Holy War, p. 140: 'About the year 1160, Peter 
Waldo, a merchant of Lyons, rich in substance and learning (for a 
layman), was walking and talking with his friends, when one of 
them suddenly fell down dead. Which lively spectacle of man's 
mortality so impressed the soul of this Waldo, that instantly he 
resolved on a strict reformation of his life. Which to his power he 
performed: translating some books of the Bible; instructing such 
as resorted to him in godliness of life; teaching withal that purga- 
tory, masses, dedication of temples, worshipping of saints, prayers 
for the dead, were inventions of the devil, and snares of avarice. 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 255 

. . . _He sharply, lanced the vicious ulcers of clergymen's lives, re- 
proving their pride and luxury. Soon got he many followers, both 
because novelty is a forcible lodestone, and because he plentifully 
relieved his poor disciples: and those that use that trade shall never 
want custom. The Archbishop of Lyons, hearing such doctrines 
broached as were high treason against the triple crown, ferreted 
Waldo and his sectaries out of Lyons and the country thereabouts. 
But persecution is the bellows of their Gospel, to blow every spark 
into a flame. [Cf. 2.14.4, I 4-] This their division proved their 
multiplication.' 

2.12 

1-5 Smith, Poems of W. W. 2.515: '"Ages ere Waldo," etc., 
rests upon historical views which have been revised since Words- 
worth's day.' The 'fugitive Progenitors' of the Waldenses may 
have been those Christians of Lyons whom Eusebius mentions as 
suffering persecution while Eleutherius was Bishop of Rome in 
179 (Eccl. Hist., tr. by Hanmer, pp. 75-82). 

6-9 Fuller, Holy War, p. 140, of the Waldenses: 'Some fled 
into the ^ Alps, living there on so steep hills, and in so deep holes, 
that their enemies were afraid to climb or dive after them. Here 
they had the constant company of the snow; and as it by the 
height of the hills was protected from the sunbeams, so they from 
the scorching of persecution, even to Luther's time.' 

10 Wordsworth's letter to Dorothy, Sept. 6, 1790 (Letters 1.13), 
describes the 'large sweeping woods of chestnut' covering the 
steeps on the shores of Lake Como. 

11-13 Cf. Desc. Sk. 328. 

13-14 Refer to the note on lines 6-9 of this sonnet. 

2.13 

1-14 Cf. Poems Dedicated to National Independence and Liberty 
1.12.1-4,11-14; 2.9.1-4; 2.10.1-5; an d Desc. Sk. 260-9, 449~6o, 
591-600, 652-64. 

8^9 Yen. Rep. 4 : ' Venice, the eldest Child of Liberty.' Walton 
(Lives 1.148 ff.) gives a spirited account of the Venetian breach 
with Rome during the ambassadorship of Henry Wotton. 

12 'Glorious lights' is in contrast to 'greedy flame' of 2.11.3, 
which is thus brought into relation with 'sacred fire' and 'new 
Flame' of 2.14.9 an d 14. By the addition of 2.12 and 2.13 (1835) 
did Wordsworth hope to restore what he felt to be a lapse of the 
figure, no' less than to strengthen the claim of the Anglican Church 
to be lineal descendant of the 'pure Church'? 

2.14 

1-14 For the frequent revisions of this sonnet, see pp. 100, 109, 
194. 



256 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

1^2 A favorite simile with Wordsworth. Cf. Westmoreland Girl 
86, In Youth 76, Misc. Son. 1.31.2, Prelude 14.382-7. 

3-5, 14 Cf. the note on 2.11.914; and see 'ashes' in the 
note below. Milton uses the figure of tapers and blaze in regard 
to Wyclif's preaching (Reformation}. 

6-14 Fuller, Holy War, p. 150, of the persecution of the Wal- 
denses: ' Dominick a Spaniard was first author hereof. Well did 
his mother, being with child of him, dream that she had a dog 
vomiting fire in her womb. This ignivomous cur (sire of the litter 
of mendicant friars called Dominicanes) did bark at and deeply 
bite the poor Albigenses. . . . And who can but admire at the 
continuance of the doctrine of the Albigenses to this day, maugre 
all their enemies? Let those privy-counsellors of nature, who can 
tell where swallows lie all winter, and how at spring they have a 
resurrection from their seeming deadness [cf. lines 1-2], let those, 
I say, also inform us in what invisible sanctuaries this doctrine did 
lurk in spite of persecution, and how it revived out of its ashes at 
the coming of Luther.' Wordsworth, note on 2.14: 'The list of 
foul names bestowed upon those poor creatures is long and curious 
and, as is, alas! too natural, most of the opprobrious appellations 
are drawn from circumstances into which they were forced by their 
persecutors, who even consolidated their miseries into one reproach- 
ful term, calling them Patarenians, or Paturins, from pati, to suffer. 

Dwellers with wolves she names them, for the pine 
And green oak are their covert; as the gloom 
Of night oft foils their enemy's design, 
She calls them Riders on the flying broom; 
Sorcerers, whose frame and aspect have become 
One and the same through practices malign.' 

Cf. MS. F, p. 100. The source is Fuller's Holy War, p. 141 : 
'They had also nick-names; called, first, poor men of Lyons, not 
because they chose to be poor, but could not choose but be poor, 
being stripped out of all their goods. And why should the friars' 
glory be this people's shame? they mocking at poverty in others, 
which they count meritorious in themselves. Secondly, Pataren- 
ians, that is, Sufferers, whose backs were anvils for others to beat 
on. Thirdly, Turlupins, that is, Dwellers with wolves (and yet 
might they be God's sheep), being forced to flee into woods. 
Fourthly, likewise they were called Sicars, that is, Cut-purses. 
Fifthly, Fraterculi, that is, Shifters. Sixthly, Insabbathae, that 
is, Observers of no sabbath. Seventhly, Passagenes, that is, 
Wanderers as also Arians, Manichaeans, Adamites (ho.w justly 
will appear afterwards). Yea, scarce was there an arrow in all the 
quiver of malice which was not shot at them.' 

9-14 Fuller (ibid., p. 139) recounts the three opinions con- 
cerning the Albigenses or Waldenses: (i) That they were 'very 
monsters in life and doctrine**; (2) That they were 'only*the true 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 257 

Church of God in that age'; (3) 'That these Albigenses were a 
purer part of the Church; and though guilty of some errors (as 
there must be a dawning before the day [cf. lines 3-5]), and charged 
with more, yet they maintained the same doctrine in ore, which 
since Luther's time was refined.' Ibid., p. 145: 'They continued 
till the days of Luther, when this morning-star willingly surrendered 
his place to him a brighter sun.' 

12 Cf. Milton, P. L. 4.971: 'Proud limitarie Cherube.' 

2.15 

1-9 In Drayton's Agincourt the speech of Chicheley continues 
for II stanzas (ed. by Anderson, 3.1 ff.); Fuller's account follows 
(Ch. Hist. 1.487): 'The prelates, and abbots especially, began now 
to have the active soul of King Henry in suspicion. . . . Such a 
meddling soul must be sent out of harm's way; if that the clergy 
found not this king some work abroad, he would make them new 
work at home. . . . Hereupon the clergy cunningly gave vent to 
his activity by diverting it on a long war upon the French.' Baker, 
Chronicle, p. 173: 'And thereupon Chicheley, Archbishop of 
Canterbury, in a long narration deduced the King's right. . . . 
This indeed struck upon the right string of the King's inclination; 
for as he affected nothing more than true glory, so in nothing more 
than in warlike actions. Hereupon nothing was now thought of 
but the conquest of France. First, therefore, he begins to alter 
in his arms the bearing of Semi-de-Luces, and quarters the three 
Flower-de-Luces, as the Kings of France then bare them.' 

2 Dray ton, Polyolbion, Upon the Frontispiece: 'The Norman 
Leopards bath'd in gules.' 

10-11 Dray ton describes the gathering of the fleet (Agincourt, 
ed. by Anderson, 3.4-6) : 

. . . these 
From every small creek cover'd all the seas. 

12-14 Fuller (op. cit. 2.197) refers to the 'ambition' of King 
Henry, 'a spark in himself, . . . inflamed ... by this prelate's 
persuasion.' 

14 Baker, op. cit., p. 174: 'The wind blowing fair, King Henry 
weighs anchor, and with a fleet of 1200 sail ... he puts to sea.' 

Wordsworth's personal associations with this theme may be 
inferred from the following passage in his sister's Journals (1.119): 
'We sowed the scarlet beans in the orchard, and read Henry V 
there. William lay on his back on the seat, and wept.' 

2.16 

1-4 Fuller uses the epithet 'shrewd' of the 'thrust' parried by 
Chicheley; Wordsworth has transferred the word to describe 
Chicheley's design. Cf. Ch. Hist. 2.197. 
18 



258 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

4-5 Drayton, Agincourt, ed. by Anderson, 3.4: 

... an English archer see 
Who shooting at a French twelve score away, 
Quite through the body stuck him to a tree. 

5-6 Ibid. 3.13: 'Gore . . . blood.' 

5-14 Fuller, op. cit. 1.487, 511: 'His victories are loudly 
sounded forth by our state-historians: a war of more credit than 
profit to England in this king's reign, draining the men and money 
thereof. Thus. victorious bays bear only barren berries, no whit 
good for food, and very little for physic; whilst the peaceable 
olive drops down that precious liquor, "making the face of man to 
shine therewith." ... If we cast pur eyes on the civil estate 
[1447], we shall find our foreign acquisitions in France, which came 
to us on foot, running from us on horseback. . . . Yet let not the 
French boast of their valor, but, under God's providence, thank 
our sins, and particularly our discords, for their so speedy recoveries. 
There were many clefts and claps in our council-board; factions 
betwixt the great lords present thereat; and these differences 
descended on their attendants and retainers, who, putting on their 
coats, wore the badges as well of the enmities as of the arms of 
their lords and masters.' Ibid. 1.514-18: 'Now [1455] began the 
broils to break out betwixt the two Houses of Lancaster and York. 
. . . Such who consider the blood lost therein would admire 
England had any left. . . . Indeed, now the sound of all bells in 
the steeples was drowned with the noise of drums and trumpets; 
and yet this good was done by the civil wars it diverted the 
prelates from troubling the Lollards; so that this very storm was a 
shelter to those poor souls, and the heat of these intestine enmities 
cooled the persecution against them.' 

2.17 

1-14 Wordsworth, note on i.u : 'I must, however, particularize 
Fuller, to whom I am indebted in the sonnet upon Widiffe.' Fuller, 
Ch. Hist. 1.493: 'Hitherto [1428] the corpse of John Wickliffe 
had quietly slept in his grave, about one-and-forty years after his 
death, till his body was reduced to bones, and his bones almost to 
dust. . . . But now, such the spleen of the council of Constance, 
as they not only cursed his memory, as dying an obstinate heretic, 
but ordered that his bones ... be taken out of the ground, and 
thrown far from any Christian burial. In obedience hereunto . . . 
the servants . . . take what was left out of the grave, and burnt 
them to ashes, and cast them into Swift, a neighboring brook 
running hard by. Thus this brook hath conveyed his ashes into 
Avon, Avon into Severn, Severn into the narrow seas, they into 
main ocean. And thus the ashes of Wickliffe are the emblem of his 
doctrine, which now is dispersed all the world over.' Cf. Lamb's 
estimate of Fuller's account (Works, ed. by Macdonald, 3.151): 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 259 

'The concluding period of this most lively narrative I will not call 
a conceit: it is one of the grandest conceptions I ever met with.' 
5 Cf. the Greek 6M<M, a. divine or prophetic voice (Iliad 2.41); 
the 'vox' of Virgil's Georg. 1476; and Wordsworth's conception 
of 'voice' in the Concordance, pp. 1064-7. To Richard Sharp (in 
1808; see Letters 1.378) he mentioned Two Voices are there as the 
best of his sonnets. Later, he was more apt to refer 'voice' to a 
power above external nature, and distinguished from it. 

2.18 

1-14 Wordsworth might have procured the material for this 
sonnet from The Life of Cardinal Wolsey by Cavendish, in Christo- 
pher Wordsworth's Ecclesiastical Biography, or from the shorter 
account of W^olsey's career given in Stow's Chronicle; or even from 
the MSS. at Lambeth. The reference to Wolsey is unmistakable. 
Cf. also Henry VIII 3.2.108 ff. The ideas of the sonnet are like 
those of Milton (Reformation); cf. with line 4 Milton's phrase 'the 
pomp of prelatism'; and cf. with line 8 his 'vanities thick sown 
through the volumes of Justin Martyr, Clemens, Origen, Tertullian, 
and others of oldest time.' 

3-4 Cavendish (in Eccl. Biog., ed. by Wordsworth, 1.330) 
relates the speed of Wolsey's journey to France by the aid of 'post- 
horses,' and the eagerness with which, being Bishop of Lincoln, 
he prepared for his installation as Bishop of York (ibid. 1.342). 
Wolsey later became priest Cardinal and legatus de latere (ibid. 
I -343)l his preparations to receive the cardinal's hat were osten- 
tatious (ibid. 1.343-4); and to his titles, Archbishop and Cardinal, 
he soon aspired to add that of Chancellor (ibid. 1.344). His 
retinue, his public 'down-lying' and 'up-rising,' his processions to 
Westminster and to the Court, his hospitality, are set forth at length. 
During his entertainment of the French ambassadors at Hampton 
Court, he 'came in booted and spurred all suddenly among them, 
and bade them prof ace' (ibid. 1.411). 

5-6 There were 180 persons 'in his check-roll' (ibid. 1.350), 
detailed in four paragraphs by the gentleman-usher, Cavendish. 
Ibid. 1.461: 'And when Mr. Russell was come before him, he most 
humbly reverenced him, upon his knees, whom my lord stooped 
unto, and took him up, and bade him welcome.' 

6-10 Ibid. 1.542: '"But if I had served God as diligently as 
I have done the king, he would not have given me over in my 
gray hairs.'" 

10-12 Ibid. 1.449: 'O wavering and newfangled multitude! 
... I cannot see but always men in authority be disdained with 
the common sort of people; and they most of all, that do observe 
and minister justice.' 

13-14 Ibid. 1.546: 'Here is the end and fall of pride and 



260 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

arrogancy of men, exalted by fortune to dignities: for, I assure you, 
in his time he was the haughtiest man in all his proceedings alive; 
having more respect to the honor of his person than he had to his 
spiritual profession; wherein should be showed all meekness, 
humility, and charity.' Fuller, Ch. Hist. 2.25, of Wolsey: 'Pride 
accounts the greatest plenty, if without pomp [cf. line 4], no better 
than penury.' 

2.19 

1-14 Fuller, Ch. Hist. 2.159: 'Antipathy betwixt Friars and 
Parish-Priests, in Erasmus's jest-earnest Dialogue. Monks, why 
hating Friars.' My italics in the following passage from Fuller 
(op. cit. 2.167-8) indicate Wordsworth's indebtedness: ' The specious 
pretences of piety and contempt of the world, abbots and monks, were 
notoriously covetous, even to the injury of others. . . . They 
impoverished parish-priests by decrying their performances and 
magnifying their own merits. Alas! what was the single devotion 
of a silly priest, in comparison of a corporation of prayers (twisted 
cables to draw down blessings on their patrons' heads) from a 
whole monastery? And, suppose (which was seldom done) the 
parson in the parish preaching to his people; yet sermons in a 
church once constituted were needless, as ministering matter of 
schisms and disputes, and, at the best, only profiting the present; 
whilst prayers benefited as well the absent as the present, dead as 
living. But especially prayers of monasteries commanded heaven 
[cf. line n], pleased with the holy violence [cf. lines 1-4] of so many 
and mighty petitioners. By these and other artifices they under- 
mined all priests in the affections of their own people [cf. line 7], and 
procured from pope and prince [cf. line 13], that many churches 
presentative, with their glebes and tithes, were appropriated to their 
convents, leaving but a poor pittance to the parish-vicar 1 [cf. 'rob']. 
Wordsworth has translated Fuller's ironical argument into an accu- 
sation. 

2.20 

1-14 Bede (Eccl. Hist., tr. by Sellar, p. 284) repeats the proph- 
ecy made by Adamnan of the destruction of Coldringham: 'The 
cells that were built for prayer or reading are now converted into 
places of feasting, drinking, talking, and other delights; the very 
virgins dedicated to God, laying aside the respect due to their 
profession, whensoever they are at leisure, apply themselves to 
weaving fine garments, wherewith to adorn themselves like brides, 
to the danger of their state, or to gain the friendship of .strange 
men.' The close of this sonnet was taken 'from a MS. written 
about the year 1770'; so with line 3. See Wordsworth's note 
on 2.21. 

12 Cf. Milton, Hymn on the Morning of Christ's Nativity 175. 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 261 

2.21 

1-2 Dyer, Hist. Camb. 2.62-3: 'The immoralities of monas- 
teries became the subject of complaint very early in the I3th and 
I4th centuries; . . . and in the beginning of the I5th, Henry IV, 
commissioners ^were appointed to visit and reform all the monas- 
teries of the Cistercian order in England; so that, with respect to 
the dissolution of these houses, and the confiscating of their reve- 
nues, the Reformation of the i6th century did but hatch the egg; 
for it was laid long before.' 

1-4 The rhyme 'assuage' . . . 'rage' and the phrase 'belfries 
mute' are good evidence to refer these lines to Fuller (Ch. Hist. 
2.194-5), who speaks of 'the proud motto, commonly written on 
the bells in their steeples, wherein each bell entitled itself to a six- 
fold efficacy: 

1. Funera plango, "Men's deaths I tell 

By doleful knell." 

2. Fulminafrango, " Lightning and thunder 

I break asunder." 

3. Sabbata pango, "On Sabbath, all 

To church I call." 

4. Excito lentos, "The sleepy head 

I raise from bed." 

5. Dissipo ventos, "The winds so fierce 

I do disperse." 

6. Paco cruentos, " Men's cruel rage 

I do assuage." 

Whereas, it plainly appears that these abbey-steeples, though 
quilted with bells almost cap-a-pie, were not of proof against the 
sword of God's lightning. Yea, generally, when the heavens in 
tempests did strike fire, the steeples of abbeys proved often their 
tinder, whose frequent burning portended their final destruction; 
which now, God willing, we come to relate.' 

4-5 Cf. Journals 1.206-7 for an authentic picture of 'choir 
unroofed,' 'warbling wren,' and 'leafy cage.' 

6 Refer to my article, Wordsworth and the Bramble, in Jour. 
Eng. and Germ. Phil. 19.340. For 'gadding' cf. Milton, Lycidas 40. 

7-8 Wordsworth, note on 2.21: 'These two lines are adapted 
from a MS., written about the year 1770, which accidentally fell 
into my possession. The close of the preceding sonnet on monastic 
voluptuousness is taken from the same source, as is the verse, 
"where Venus sits," etc., and the line. "Once ye were holy, ye are 
holy still," in a subsequent sonnet' [3.35.13]. Cf. Fort Fuentes 1-8. 

10 At Waltham Abbey Harold was interred. Cf. Fuller, Ch. 
Hist. 2.228. 

11-14 Stillingfleet, Orig. Brit., pp. 9-10, quoting MS. Cott: 
'"That in the Western parts of Britain there is a royal Island 



262 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

called Gleston; ... it was devoted to the service of God. Here 
the first Disciples of the Catholic Law found an ancient Church, 
not built as was reported by men's hands, but prepared by God 
himself .for the benefit of men, and which by miracles was showed 
to be consecrated to himself and to the Blessed Virgin. To which 
they adjoined another Oratory made of stone, which they dedicated 
to Christ and to St. Peter." The question is, who are here meant 
by these first disciples of the Catholic Law? not Joseph of Ari- 
mathea and his companions, who are never mentioned by him, and 
who are never said to have found a church there built to their 
hands, but he speaks of some of the first Saxon Christians in those 
parts, who might probably find there such a low wattled church 
as is described in Sir H. Spellman [Condi. Brit. 15]; a remainder 
of the British Christianity in that island.' Cf. Drayton, Polyol- 
bion 3.307-12. Turner (Hist. Angl. Sax. 1.401) refers to the 
rebuilding of Glastonbury by Ine at the request of Aldhelm. Cf. 
the note on Eccl. Son. 1.2.11-12. 

2.22 

1-8 Fuller, Ch. Hist. 2.210: 'Ten thousand persons were by 
this Dissolution sent to seek their fortunes in the wide world. 
Some, indeed, had fathers or friends to receive .them, others none 
at all. Some had twenty shillings given them at their ejection, 
and a new gown, which needed to be of strong cloth to last so long 
till they got another.' Cf. Bruges I 12-14; Journals 2.180. 

9-10 Cf. Triad 84-5; Ossian 5-10; cf. also Milton, Hymn on 
the Morning of Christ's Nativity, stanza 15. 

11-14 Cf. Journals 2.52. 

2.23 

1-8 Fuller, Ch. Hist. 2.214: 'Some counted their convents 
their prisons, being thus confined. ... It was a fine thing when 
they might, but sad case when they must, live in their monasteries. 
. . . Many who had hopes of others' subsistence cast off the cowls 
and vails, and quitted their convents' [cf. Eccl. Son. 2.22.5]. 

9-14 Ibid. 2.210: 'Most were exposed to want. I see no such 
certainty for a comfortable livelihood as a lawful calling; for 
monkish profession was no possession, and many a young nun 
proved an old beggar. I pity not those who had hands and health 
to work; but, surely, the gray hairs of some impotent persons 
deserved compassion; and I am confident such, had they come to 
the doors of the charitable reader hereof, should have had a meal's 
meat and a night's lodging given unto them.' Cf. Misc. Son. 
1.1.13: 'The weight of too much liberty.' Fuller returns to this 
theme (op. cit. 2.255): 'Alas! many of them, "dig they could not, 
and to beg they were ashamed.'" 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 263 

2.24 

1-6 Cf. Excursion 4.894-918; cf. also Milton, Hymn on the 
Morning of Christ's Nativity, stanzas 19-24. 

8 Weever (Funeral Monuments] gives evidence of the numerous 
dedications to St. Michael. 

8-9 Cf. Ode 1814 24. Cf. also the passage (Prose Works 2.153) 
on the epitaph of Sir George Vane. 

9-10 Whitaker, Hist. Craven, p. 371: 'St. Mary, St. Margaret, 
and St. Helena were the w^ai ewSpot Aeiju&wtaSes of Craven.' 

11-12 Cf. Dryden, A Song for St. Cecilia's Day, 1687, stanza 7. 

12-14 Anderson's British Poets 1.525-31 includes as Chaucerian 
The Lamentacion of Marie Magdaleine. See the note on 2.31.12 
for evidence that Wordsworth had recently consulted this volume; 
Marie's plaint may be quoted in part (p. 528) : 

Into wildernesse I thinke best to go ... 
There for to wepin with gret aboundance. 

2.25 

1-14 The numerous Cistertian abbeys with which Wordsworth 
was familiar would suggest a sonnet upon the Virgin, to whose 
service this order was devoted. Cf. Guilt 149-50, Meek Virgin I, 
Excursion 8.486-90. 

6-7 In a note at the beginning of On the Same Occasion, When 
in, and in the poem itself, Wordsworth amplifies the reference to 
'eastern skies at daybreak': 'Our churches, invariably perhaps, 
stand east and west, but why is by few persons exactly known; 
nor, that the degree of deviation from due east often noticeable 
in the ancient ones was determined, in each particular case, by the 
point in the horizon at which the sun rose upon the day of the 
saint to whom the church was dedicated. These observances of 
our ancestors, and the causes of them, are the subject of the fol- 
lowing stanzas.' 

7-8 These two lines occur in MS. F (p. 82) as part of a dis- 
carded version of 1.2. Presumably they established the rhyme of 
this sonnet; and the lines ending in 'uncrost,' 'boast,' and 'tost' 
were suggested by and subsequent to them. 

9 Stow, Chronicle, p. 575: 'The Images of our Lady of Wal- 
singham and Ipswich were brought up to London, with all the 
jewels that hung about them, and divers other ^images both in 
England and Wales, whereunto any common pilgrimage was used, 
for avoiding of idolatry.' 

2.26 

1-7 Fuller, whose Church History was Wordsworth's main 
source in 2.15, 2.16, 2.17, 2.19, 2.21, 2.22, 2.23, seems to be the 



264 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

authority here. He relates within some few pages (2.34-42) the de- 
bate over 'the supremacy of crafty Rome,' neting the premunire of 
1531, the consecration of Cranmer as Archbishop, the divorce and 
remarriage of Henry, Henry's displeasure at Fisher and More, the 
imprisonment of Fisher for refusing the Oath of Supremacy, the 
Convocation of York. He quotes (ibid. 2.48) the words offensive 
to Fisher in the preamble of the statute of succession: '"The 
bishop of Rome and see apostolic, contrary to the great and in- 
violable grants of jurisdiction by God immediately to emperors, 
kings, and princes, in succession to their heirs, hath presumed in 
times past to invest who should please them to inherit in other 
men's kingdoms and dominions; which thing we, your most 
humble subjects, both spiritual and temporal, do most abhor and 
detest." ' And he includes Protestants among those not conforming 
(ibid. 2.105): 'After the execution of the lord Cromwell, the 
parliament still sitting, a motley execution happened in Smithfield; 
three papists hanged by the statute for denying the king's suprem- 
acy, and as many Protestants burned at the same time and place 
by virtue of the Six Articles, dying with more pain and no less 
patience.' 

8 Ibid. 2.62: '"I forgive thee," said he [Fisher to his execu- 
tioner], " with all my heart, and I trust thou shalt see me overcome 
this storm lustily.'" Ibid. 2.63: 'These words he spake with . . . 
such a reverend gravity that he appeared to all men not only void 
of fear, but also glad of death' [cf. lines 10-12]. 

9 Wordsworth's quotation is from Romeo and Juliet 5.1.3: ' My 
bosom's lord sits lightly in his throne.' See Knight, P. W., Eversley 
ed., 7.56. 

11-12 Notice the Aristotelian terms: 'tragic,' 'pity,' 'fear.' 
12 Fuller, op. cit. 2.64: 'Pass we from Fisher to More.' 
12-14 Ibid. 2.65: 'Yet some have taxed him that he wore a 
feather in his cap, and wagged it too often; meaning, he was 
over-free in his fancies and conceits; insomuch that on the scaffold 
(a place not to break jests, but to break off all jesting) he could 
not hold, but bestowed his scoffs on the executioner and standers- 
by.' The Life of Sir Thomas More, published by Christopher 
Wordsworth in his Eccl. Biog. (2.53-232), from a MS. in the 
Lambeth library, was accessible to Wordsworth. In it (2.118) are 
comments such as: 'Sir Thomas for his wit and learning, even 
when he lived, throughout all Christendom was almost miraculously 
accounted of; and (2.132-3) 'As he lived, so he died; always 
possessing his soul in peace and tranquillity. . . . Going to the 
scaffold to lose his head, the ascending of the stairs not being easy, 
" Help me up with one of your hands," said he to one of the officers, 
"for as for my coming down, let me shift as I may: for by then I 
am sure I shall take no great harm." His head being laid on the 
block, the executioner asked him pardon, as the custom is. "I 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 265 

forgive thee with all my heart" (quoth he). "Marry, my neck is 
so short, I fear me thou shalt have little honesty by thy workman- 
ship. See therefore that thou acquit thyself well.'" 

2.27 

I ~ I 4 Contrast this sonnet with Milton's Hymn on the Morning 
of Christ s Nativity, stanzas 20-5, and with the 'joyful annuncia- 
tion of Ode 1815, especially lines 25-6: 

The Arabian desert shapes a willing road 
Across her burning breast. 

Cf. Wordsworth's use of the figure of reverberation in Eccl Son 
1.33, White Doe 670-87, and To Joanna 51-65. Refer to Cooper,' 
On Wordsworth s Joanna, in Academy 1969.108-10. The use of 
Tiber, Ganges, and the Nile to represent Europe, Asia, and Africa is 
appropriate to the ' holy river.' The obligation to Armstrong's Art 
of Preserving Health, and to Dyer's The Ruins of Rome, is an im- 
portant one. Cf. the passages in Poems and Extracts, ed. by Little- 
dale, pp. 54-5, 69-71, as follows: 
i Dyer: 

Yon hoary monk laments the same. 

3 Ibid.: 

How musical, when all-composing Time, 
Here sits upon his throne of ruins hoar 
While winds and tempests sweep his various lyre, 
How sweet the diapason ! 

4 Armstrong: 

Aland of genii? 

5 Dyer: 

Fallen, fallen, a silent heap! Behold the pride of pomp, 
The throne of nations, fall'n! obscured in dust; 
Even yet majestical. 

6-9 Armstrong : 

Now come, ye Naiads, to the fountains lead; 
Now let me wander through your ?elid reign. . . . 
First springs the Nile; here bursts the sounding Po 
In angry waves; Euphrates hence devolves 
A mighty flood to water half the East ; 
And there in Gothic solitude reclined 
The cheerless Tanais pours his hoary urn. 
Dyer: 

Shrouded Nile, 

Eridanus, and Tiber with his twins, 
And palmy Euphrates; who with dropping locks 
Hang o'er their urns, and mournfully among 
The plaintive-echoing ruins pour their streams. 

11-14 Stow, Chronicle, p. 62: 'Mahomet . . . was very skilful 
in magic, and had learned many deceits of the Egyptians: for the 
which he was held in admiration of the rude ignorant Saracens, 



266 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

and distracted Arabians. . . . This .subtle Mahomet attributed 
great divinity to himself; and having the falling sickness, he 
denied it, saying he was only in a trance, being ravished with the 
vision of the Angel Gabriel, who delivered him secret instructions 
and new commandments from God. He taught a white dove to 
peck food out of his ears, which he made the people believe was the 
Holy Ghost that came to inspire him. By means whereof, and 
other his illusions which his cunning confederates used in his behalf, 
he strongly possessed the multitude with a most holy and reverent 
opinion of him. . . . [His] devilish and anti-Christian doctrine, 
through the negligence and civil dissension of the Christian princes, 
hath overspread all Asia, Africa, and the best part of Europe, and 
in many places of India' [cf. lines 9 and 10, and the references to 
Tiber, Ganges, Nile]. 

2.28 

1-3 Cf. Journals 1.6, 57. 

6-9 Milton, P. L. 3.474-5, 487-96, as Knight indicates (P. W., 
Eversley ed., 7.57): 

Eremits and Friers 

White, Black and Grey, with all thir trumperie. . . . 
A violent cross wind from either Coast 
Blows them transverse ten thousand Leagues awry 
Into the devious Air; then might ye see 
Cowles, Hoods and Habits with thir wearers tost 
And flutterd into Raggs, then Reliques, Beads, 
Indulgences, Dispenses, Pardons, Bulls, 
The sport of Winds: all these upwhirld aloft 
Fly o're the backside of the World farr off 
Into a Limbo large and broad, since calld 
The Paradise of Fools. 

9-14 Daniel, Works, ed. by Grosart, 5.98-9: 'Such is the 
nature of Domination, wheresoever it sits, that, finding an yielding- 
ness to endure, it never thinks it hath power sufficient, unless it 
hath more than enough ; for, if the Popes (the professed sovereigns 
of piety) upon the advantage of men's zeal, and belief, grew to 
make their will and their power equal (so that to question their 
sanctions was taught to be sin against the Holy Ghost), no marvel 
if secular Princes, whose consciences are untied, strive to break out 
into the wildness of their wills from those bounds wherein by the 
law of the State they are placed.' 

2.29 

i-n Fuller, Ch. Hist. 2.313, after referring to the Liturgy: 

'The Book of books still remains; I mean the Bible itself 

The First Translation of the Bible. Set forth in the reign of King 
Henry VIII, anno 1541, countenanced with a grave and pious 
preface of Archbishop Cranmer, and authorized by the King's 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH f 267 

proclamation, dated May 6th, seconded also with "Instructions" 
from the King; to prepare people to receive benefit the better from 
"so heavenly a treasure," it was called "the Bible of the greater 
volume," rather commended than commanded to people.' 

2 Cf. Milton, Reformation: 'Then was the sacred Bible sought 
out of the dusty corners where profane falsehood and neglect had 
thrown it.' 

4 Milton (ibid. ) refers to 'Our Chaucer's Ploughman' 
12-14 Cf. Fuller's accounts of the 'Devon commotion' and the 
'Norfolk rebellion' (Ch. Hist. 2.318-26), and especially the fol- 
lowing: 'The people tumultuously compelled the priest ... to 
say mass and officiate in Latin, as best pleased with what they 
least understood.' Cf. White Doe 711-14: 

To Durham first their course they bear; 
And in Saint Cuthbert's ancient seat 
Sang mass, and tore the book of prayer, 
And trod the bible beneath their feet. 

Child (The English and Scottish Popular Ballads 3.401-8) gives the 
ballad, The Rising in the North. 

2.30 

1-14 For the form of this sonnet Wordsworth was unmistakably 
indebted to Hebrews 1 1 : 

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the 
evidence of things not seen. 

For by it the elders obtained a good report. 

Through faith we understand that the worlds were 
framed by the word of God, so that things which are 
seen were not made of things which do appear. 

And cf. the phrases 'by faith' and 'through faith' at the beginning 
of the following verses of this chapter: 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, n, 17, 20, 21, 
22, 23, 24, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31. For the ideas and some of the phrases 
he has recalled Milton: P. L. 1.17-18; Church-gov., 'the soul of man, 
which is his rational temple,' and 'the love of God, as a fire sent 
from heaven to be ever kept alive upon the altars of our hearts' ; and 
passages in Reformation. 

4-5 Wordsworth, Convention of Cintra, Prose Works 1.208: 'In 
following the stream of these thoughts, I have not wandered from 
my course: I have drawn out to open day the truth from its 
recesses in the minds of my countrymen.' Cf. the frequent and 
often symbolical use of 'root,' 'rooted,' 'roots,' in the Concordance, 
p. 801. 

6 Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, 
are the patriarchs to whom St. Paul and Wordsworth refer. 

7-8 The Ten Commandments. 

9-14 Hebrews 12.2: 'Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher 
of our faith . 



268 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

12 For instance, Paul. 

13-14 Cf. Hebrews 3.14, 9.12, 9.24. 

2.31 

1-4 Wordsworth modernized The Prioress' Tale in 1801 (Jour- 
nals 1.67). 

i Prioress 61: 'Sweet is the holiness of youth.' This line does 
not occur in Chaucer. 

5-14, and especially 12 Denham's verses on the death of 
Cowley are in Anderson's Works of the British Poets prefixed to the 
selections from Chaucer (Title-page to Chaucer, vol. i): 
Old Chaucer, like the morning star, 
To us discovers day from far; 
His light those mists and clouds dissolv'd, 
Which our dark nation long involv'd ; 
But he descending to the shades, 
Darkness again the age invades. 

Cf. Spenser, Hymn of Heavenly Love 25.2; Milton, P. L. 5.705 
and Song on May Morning i; Revelation 2.28, 22.16. Cf . also the 
Essay Supplementary, 1815 (P. W., Oxford ed., p. 951): $ 'What is 
become of the morning-star of English Poetry?' Still earlier 
(Reply to the Letter of Mathetes, Prose Works 1.91) : ' Happy moment 
was it for England when her Chaucer, who has been rightly called 
the morning-star of her literature, appeared above the horizon; 
when her Wicliffe, like the sun, shot orient beams through the 
night of Romish superstition!' In this same year (1909-10) was 
published Christopher Wordsworth's Eccl. Biog., including Foxe's 
account of Chaucer and Gower. Cf. this work 1.308: 'I marvel 
to consider this, how that the bishops condemning and abolishing 
all manner of English books and treatises which might bring the 
people to any light of knowledge, did yet authorize the works of 
Chaucer to remain still and to be occupied; who (no doubt) saw 
in religion as much almost as even we do now, and uttereth in his 
works no less, and seemeth to be a right Wiclevian, or else was 
never any.' 

7-9 Chaucer, The Prioress' Tale 50-7: 

Among thise children was a widwes sone, 

A litel clergeon, seven year of age, 

That day by day to scole was his wone, 

And eek also, wher-as he saugh th'image 

Of Cristes moder, hadde he in usage, 

As him was taught, to knele adoun and seye 

His Ave Marie, as he goth by the weye. 

8 Fuller, Ch. Hist. 2.357: 'Such was the piety of this young 
prince, that, being about to take down something which was above 
his reach, one of his play-fellows proffered him a bossed-plated 
Bible to stand upon, and heighten him to take what he desired. 
Perceiving it a Bible, with holy indignation he refused it, and sharply 
reproved the offerer thereof; it being unfit he should trample that 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 269 

under his feet which he was to treasure up in his head and heart.' 
Ibid. 2.358: 'When crowned king, his goodness increased with his 
greatness; constant in his private devotions.' 

2.32 

1-14 Burnet, Hist. -Ref. 2.2.126, quoting Cardan's De Genitura 
Edwardi Sexti: ' Dignus Apollineis Lachrymis.' Baker, Chron- 
icle, p. 311: 'Concerning his personage, it is said he was in body 
beautiful, of a sweet aspect, and specially in his eyes, which seemed 
to have a starry liveliness and lustre in them. Concerning his 
conditions, in matter of fact, there is not much to be said; but in 
matter of disposition and inclination very much, even to admira- 
tion. . . . For proof of his merciful disposition this one example 
may be sufficient: when one Joan Butcher was to be burned for 
blasphemy and heresy, all the council could not get him to sign 
the warrant, till the Archbishop Cranmer, with much importunity, 
persuaded him; and then he did it, but not without weeping.' 

2.33 

1-2 In the year 1553 (Baker, Chronicle, p. 311). 

2-3 Burnet, Hist. Ref. 2.1.426, 429: 'The people were generally 
running to Queen Mary! . . . The tide grew everywhere strong 
for the queen.' 

4-5 Ibid. 2.1.19, of ante- Marian idolatry: 'It was notorious 
that the people everywhere doated on them [images], and gave 
them divine honor. Nor did the clergy, who were generally too 
guilty themselves of such abuses, teach them how to distinguish 
aright; and the acts of worship that were allowed were such, that, 
beside the scandal such worship had in it, and the danger of drawing 
people into idolatry, it was in itself inexcusable to offer up such 
external parts of religious adoration to gold or silver, wood or 
stone.' Then followed Ridley's Lenten sermon. Gardiner was 
offended (ibid. 20), 'hearing that on May-day the people of Ports- 
mouth had removed and broken the images of Christ and the 
saints.' Burnet (ibid. 2.2.97) quotes a paper written in French 
by Edward VI, a collection of scriptural passages against idolatry. 
Cf. Milton, Piemont 4; P.L. 12.119. 

6-12 Stow (Chronicle, pp. 616-17) gives an account of Mary's 
coronation: 'At the upper end of Grace-street there was another 
pageant made by the Florentines very high, on the top whereof 
there stood four pictures, and in the midst of them, and ^ most 
highest, there stood an Angel all in green, with a trumpet in his 
hand; and when the trumpeter that stood secretly in the pageant 
did sound his trump, the Angel did put his trump to his mouth, 
as though it had been the same that had sounded^ to the great 
marveling of many ignorant persons. . . . The cross in Cheap new 
washed and burnished. . . . The twenty-seven of August, the 
service began in Latin to be sung in Paul's Church in London! 



270 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

. . . And on the one and twentieth of December, began throughout 
England the Church service to be done in Latin.' 

13-14 Fuller, Ch. Hist. 2.360: 'Whilst mutual animosities were 
heightened betwixt the opposers and assertors of the Liturgy, 
Providence put a period for a time to that controversy in England. 
Such who formerly would not soon after durst not use the 
Common Prayer; mass and popery being set up by Queen Mary 
in the room thereof. Thus when children fall out and fight about 
the candle, the parents, coming in and taking it away, leave them 
to decide the differences in the dark.' 

2-34 

i Fuller, Ch. Hist. 2.399: 'Of all the Marian martyrs, Mr. 
Philpot was the best-born gentleman; bishop Ridley, the pro- 
foundest scholar; Mr. Bradford, the holiest and the devoutest 
man; archbishop Cranmer, of the mildest and meekest temper; 
bishop Hooper, of the sternest and austerest nature; Dr. Taylor 
had the merriest and pleasantest wit; Mr. Latimer had the plainest 
and simplest heart, etc. O the variety of these several instruments! 
O their joint harmony in a concert to God's glory!' 

2-3 Foxe (Acts and Mon. 2.1606) prints 'A table describing the 
burning of B. Ridley and father Latimer at Oxford.' 

4-8 Wordsworth, note on 2.34: <U M. Latimer suffered his 
keeper very quietly to pull off his hose, and his other array, which 
to look unto was very simple; and being stripped into his shroud, 
he seemed as comely a person to them that were present, as one 
should lightly see: and whereas in his clothes he appeared a 
withered and crooked silly (weak) old man, he now stood bolt 
upright, as comely a father as one might lightly behold. . . . Then 
they brought a faggot, kindled with fire, and laid the same down 
at Dr. Ridley's feet. To whom Mr. Latimer spake in this manner, 
'Be of good comfort, master Ridley, and play the man: we shall 
this day light such a candle by God's grace in England, as I trust 
shall never be put out.'" Foxe's Acts, &. Similar alterations in 
the outward figure and deportment of persons brought to like trial 
were not uncommon. See note to the above passage in Dr. Words- 
worth's Ecclesiastical Biography, for an example in an humble 
Welsh fisherman.' Cf. Eccl. Biog. 3.287: 'It is recorded further- 
more of the said good father Rawlines . . . that as he was going 
to his death and standing at the stake, he seemed in a manner to 
be altered in nature. For whereas before he was wont to go 
stooping, or rather crooked through the infirmity of age, having a 
sad countenance, and a very feeble complexion, and withal very 
soft in speech and gesture; now he went and stretched up himself 
not only bolt upright, but also bare withal a most comfortable 
countenance, not without great courage and audacity both in 
speech and behavior. Foxe's Acts, p. 1416.' 

11-12 I have been unable to find the source of this quotation, 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 271 

2-35 

j" 1 ? Foxe ' Acts and Mon ' 2 - I 7H: 'Then was an iron chain 
tied about Cranmer, whom when they perceived to be more stead- 
fast than that he could be moved from his sentence, they com- 
manded the fire to be set unto him. And when the wood was 
kindled, and the fire began to burn near him, stretching out his 
arm, he put his right hand into the flame, which he held so stead- 
fast and immovable (saving that once with the same hand he wiped 
his face) that all men might see his hand burned before his body 
was touched. His body did so abide the burning of the flame 
with such constancy and steadfastness, that standing always in 
one place without moving his body, he seemed to move no more 
than the stake to which he was bound: his eyes were lifted up into 
heaven, and oftentimes he repeated his "unworthy right hand," so 
long as his voice would suffer him: and using often the words of 
Stephen, "Lord Jesus receive my spirit," in the greatness of the 
flame he gave up the ghost.' 

i Burnet, Hist. Ref. 2.1.605: 'All the way the priests up- 
braided him for changing.' 

4 Foxe, op. cit. 2.1714: 'Such a countenance of gravity moved 
the hearts both of his friends and of his enemies.' 

6-7 Ibid.: 'His feet were bare. Likewise his head, when both 
his caps were off, was so bare one hair could not be seen upon it.' 

8 Ibid.: 'His shirt was made long down to his feet.' 

9 Ibid.: 'This fortitude of mind, which perchance is rare and 
not found among the Spaniards, when friar John saw, thinking it 
came not of fortitude, but of desperation . . .' 

12-14 Wordsworth, note on 2.35: 'For the belfef in this fact, 
see the contemporary historians.' Cf. Baker, Chronicle, p. 321: 
'Only (which was no small miracle) his heart remained whole and 
not once touched with the fire.' This legend and the note first 
appeared in the series in 1827. 

2.36 

1-3 Fuller, Ch. Hist. 2.402-3: 'The heraldry of heaven knows 
how to marshal them, in the place of dignity due unto them. ; . . 
But, though the Protestants showed much mercy to the Papists, 
their persecutors, yet the God of the Protestants manifested much 
justice in their woful and wretched deaths.^. . . However, when 
a remarkable death suddenly follows a notorious, wicked life, even 
such passengers as are posting in the speed of their private affairs 
are bound to make a stand, and solemnly to observe the justice of 
God's proceedings therein.' 

4-9 Ibid. 2.404: '"Rejoice, O ye nations, with his people: for 
he will avenge the blood of his servants, and will render vengeance 
to his adversaries, and will be merciful unto his land, and to his 



272 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

people." Deut. xxxii.43.' Such 'showers of blood seem rather to 
incite than to allay' the spirit of Fuller, for he goes on to take issue 
with the Jesuit, Parsons, in a 'cloud ... of polemic dust.' 

9-11 Ibid. 2.381, 446-7, 463: 'The issueless Issue of a Dispu- 
tation at Oxford. . . . The Disputations betwixt the Papists and 
Protestants at Westminster. . . . Whereof more noise than fruit, 
and wherein more passion than reason, cavils than arguments. . . . 
The assembly dissolved, it were hard to say which were louder 
the Papists in complaining, or the Protestants in triumphing. . . . 
Bale rails not more on Papists, than Pits ... on Protestant 
writers.' 

10-12 Cf. Milton, P. L. 2.51-70. 

14 Cf. Homer, Iliad 6.339: viK-rj 5' ewafjieipeTai ai>8pas. 



2-37 

1-14 Fuller, Ch. Hist. 2.407 ff: 'Come we now to set down the 
sad troubles of Frankfort, rending these banished exiles asunder 
into several factions. . . . Thus settled in their church, their next 
care was to write letters ... to all the English congregations . . . 
to invite them, with all convenient speed, to come and join with 
them at Frankfort. This is the "communion of saints," who 
never account themselves peaceably possessed of any happiness 
until (if it be in their power) they have also made their fellow- 
sufferers partakers thereof. However, this their invitation found 
not any great entertainment amongst the other English church- 
colonies; all delaying, and some denying, to come; but especially 
. . . those of Zurich were resolved no whit to recede from the 
Liturgy used in England under the reign of King Edward VI, and, 
except those of Frankfort would give them assurance that, coming 
thither, they should have full and free use thereof, they utterly 
refused any communion with their congregation.' 

9 'Prurient speculations,' the reading from 1822 to 1827, in- 
dicates that Wordsworth had read Walton's transcript of Wotton's 
epitaph (Lives 1.183): 

'"Hie jacet hujus sententiae primus author, 

DISPUTANDI PRURITUS ECCLESIARUM 

SCABIES 
NOMEN ALIAS QUAERE" 

Which may be Englished thus: 

' ' Here lies the first author of this sentence, 

THE ITCH OF DISPUTATION WILL PROVE 

THE SCAB 

OF THE CHURCH 

INQUIRE HIS NAME ELSEWHERE'" 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 273 

10 Walton (Hooker, in Lives 2.75) speaks of the 'seeds of dis- 
content' sowed by Travers in the Temple; and (George Cranmer's 
Letter to Hooker, ibid. 2.118) refers to those who 'must give us 
leave to think that they have cast the seed wherewith these tares 
are grown.' Dyer (Hist. Camb. 2.179) quotes Cowley: 

And who would change these soft, yet solid joys, 
For empty shews and senseless noise; 
And all which rank Ambition breeds, 
Which seem such beauteous flowers, and are such poisonous weeds? 

11-14 Walton (op. cit. 1.184-5) discusses Wotton's authorship 
of the sentence attributed to him in his epitaph: 'Almighty God 
was then pleased to make him a prophet, to tell the Church militant, 
and particularly that part of it in this nation, where the weeds of 
controversy grow to be daily both more numerous, and more 
destructive to humble piety; and where men have consciences 
that boggle at ceremonies, and yet scruple not to speak and act 
such sins as the ancient, humble Christians believed to be a sin to 
think; and where, as our reverend Hooker says, "former simplicity 
and softness of spirit is not to be found, because zeal hath drowned 
charity, and skill meekness." It will be good to think that these 
sad changes have proved this epitaph to be a useful caution unto 
us of this nation; and the sad effects thereof in Germany have 
proved it to be a mournful truth.' 

2.38 

1-5 Walton, Hooker, in Lives 2.42-3, on the beginning of the 
reign of Elizabeth: 'A time in which the many pretended titles to 
the crown, the' frequent treasons, the doubts of her successor, the 
late civil war, and the sharp persecution that had raged to the 
effusion of so much blood in the reign of Queen Mary, were fresh 
in the memory of all men; and these begot fears in the most pious 
and wisest of this nation, lest the like days should return again^ to 
them or their present posterity. The apprehension of which 
dangers begot an earnest desire of a settlement in the Church and 
State. . . . But time, and peace, and plenty, begot self-ends; and 
those begot animosities, envy, opposition, and unthankfulness for 
those blessings for which they lately thirsted.' 

5-8 Walton, ibid. 2.44: 'I shall forbear to mention the very 
many and dangerous plots of the Romanists against ^the^ Church 
and State; because what is principally intended in this digression 
is an account of the opinions and activity of the Nonconformists.' 
In The White Doe Wordsworth had used the story of one of the 
'home-bred ferments' (360-79). 

8-1 1 Cf. Journals 1.102; and Reply to the Letter of Mathetes, 
Prose Works 1.86; and Spenser, F. Q. 1. 7-34-8 and 7.6.18.7. 

9 Walton, op. cit. 2.59, of Whitgift and Elizabeth: 'She no 
19 



274 . THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

doubting ... his prudence equal to the chiefest of her council, 
who were then as remarkable for active wisdom as those dangerous 
times did require, or this nation did ever enjoy. . . . He gave her 
faithful and prudent counsels in all the extremities and dangers of 
her temporal affairs, which were very many.' 

12-14 These lines, revised in 1845, indicate a severer judgment 
than that of 1822. Presumably they refer to the execution of 
Mary Stuart, and other anti-Catholic measures. 

13 Walton (op. cit. 2.23) speaks of 'the cloud of persecution 
and fear ending with the life of Queen Mary.' 

2-39 

1-8 Wordsworth, note on 2.39: "'On foot they went, and took 
Salisbury in their way, purposely to see the good Bishop, who made 
Mr. Hooker sit at his own table; which Mr. Hooker boasted of 
with much joy and gratitude when he saw his mother and friends; 
and at the Bishop's parting with him, the Bishop gave him good* 
counsel and his benediction, but forgot to give him money; which 
when the Bishop had considered, he sent a servant in all haste to call 
Richard back to him, and at Richard's return, the Bishop said to him, 
' Richard, I sent for you back to lend you a horse which hath carried 
me many a mile, and I thank God with much ease,' and presently de- 
livered into his hand a walking-staff, with which he professed he had 
travelled through many parts of Germany; and he. said, 'Richard, 
I do not give, but lend you my horse; be sure you be honest, and 
bring my horse back to me, at your return this way to Oxford. 
And I do now give you ten groats to bear your charges to Exeter; 
and here is ten groats more, which I charge you to deliver to your 
mother, and tell her I send her a Bishop's benediction with it, and 
beg the continuance of her prayers for me. And if you bring my 
horse back to me, I will give you ten groats more to carry you on 
foot to the college; and so God bless you, good Richard.'" See 
Walton's Life of Richard Hooker.' Cf. W T alton, op. cit. 2.22-3, f r 
an account of 'the learned John Jewel.' 

3 Wordsworth's use of 'staff' has often been allegorical: cf. 
Guilty Michael 183; P. B. 193, 423, 541, 554; Bord. 1416. It 
is the symbol both of pilgrim and pastor. Cf. also Psalm 23.4. 

9-14 Milton, P. L. 4,153-65: 

And of pure now purer aire 
Meets his approach, and to the heart inspires 
Vernal delight and joy, able to drive 
All sadness but despair: now gentle gales 
Fanning thir odoriferous wings dispense 
Native perfumes, and whisper whence they stole 
Those balmie spoiles. As when to them who sail 
Beyond the Cape of Hope, and now are past 
Mozambic, off at Sea North-East windes blow 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 275 

Sdbean Odours from the spicie shoare 

Of Arable the blest, with such delay 

Well pleas'd they slack thir course, and many a League 

Cheard with the grateful smell old Ocean smiles. 

Cf. Bede's 'flagrantia mirandi . . . odoris' (Eccl. Hist., ed. by 
Plummer, 1.224); an d his like reference to the tomb of Earcongota 
(ibid. 1.144). 

2.40 

1-5 Such men as Parker, Whitgift, Jewel, and Hooker are 
indicated. 'Eloquent' may well refer to Whitgift's influence over 
Elizabeth (Walton, Hooker, in Lives 2.54-8): 'I beseech your 
Majesty to hear me with patience, and to believe that yours and 
the Church's safety are dearer to me than my life.' 

4 For the change from ' new-born Church ' to ' Church reformed ' 
see p. 57. 

4, ii Walton, op. cit. 2.10, Sam. Woodford's verses to Mr. 
Isaak Walton upon his writing and publishing the life of the vener- 
able and judicious Mr. Richard Hooker: 

Who mad'st the Church thy chiefest care. . . . 

And decent worship kept the mean 

Its two wide stretched extremes between. 

Cf. also ibid. 2.59; and Strype, Life and Acts of Matthew Parker, 
Oxford, 1821, 2.487. 

6-10 Walton (op. cit. 2.77-8) speaks of the request of Hooker 
to be removed from the country for better progress with his Ecclesi- 
astical Polity: ' I have consulted the holy Scripture, and other laws, 
both human and divine ... [to lay] a hopeful foundation for the 
Church's peace.' 

6-8 Ibid. 2.61, of the scene between James I and the dying 
Whitgift: 'The King assured him, "he had a great affection for 
him, and a high value for his prudence and virtues, which were so 
useful for the Church that he would earnestly beg his life of God." 
To which he replied, "Pro ecclesia Dei! Pro ecclesia Dei! " which 
were the last words he ever spake.' 

10 The earlier reading of this line, 'polity and discipline,' 
recalled Hooker's Ecclesiastical Polity and that management of the 
Church which is frequently called 'discipline' in Cranmer's Letter 
to Hooker; the substitution of 'doctrine' for 'polity and discipline,' 
and the addition of 'communion' have been discussed in relation to 
the changes in the text of 1827 (p. 46). Cf. Milton's discussion of 
' discipline ' and ' doctrine ' in Cnurch-gov. 

11 Moderation was characteristic of both Hooker and Whitgift 
(Walton, op. cit. 2.100, 51-2). Cf. the ' wdev ajav' of Greece 
and the 'media via' of Rome. Cf. also Burnet's passage on 'the 
very ill effects of extreme violent counsels' (Hist. Own Time 1.901). 

13-14 Heylin, Cyp. AngL, p. 498: 'For at this day the blind 
lead the blind.' Cf. Ecclesiastes 2.14, and Jeremiah n.8. 



276 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

2.41 

1 Cf. Homer, Iliad 3.109-10, in the translation of Lang, Leaf, 
and Myers, p. 52: 'But wheresoever an old man entereth in, he 
looketh both before and after, whereby the best issue shall come 
for either side.' 

2 Heylin, Motto of Cyp. Angl., Ecclus. 44.1, 3: 'Let us now 
praise Famous Men and our Fathers that begat Us.' 

2-8 Walton, Hooker, in Lives 2.44 ff: 'In which number of 
Nonconformists . . . there were many that were possessed of a 
high degree of spiritual wickedness; I mean with an innate, restless, 
radical pride and malice; ... a complacence in working and 
beholding confusion; . . . men whom a furious zeal and prejudice 
had blinded, and made incapable of hearing reason, or adhering to 
the ways of peace; men whom pride and self-conceit had made to 
over- value their own wisdom, and become pertinacious, and to hold 
foolish and unmannerly disputes against those men which they 
ought to reverence, and those laws which they ought to obey; men 
that labored and joyed to speak ill of government, and then to be 
the authors of confusion. . . . And in these times, which tended 
thus to confusion, there were also many others that pretended to 
tenderness of conscience, refusing to submit to ceremonies, or to 
take an oath before a lawful magistrate. . . . The common people 
became so fanatic, as St. Peter observes there were in his time 
"some that wrested the Scripture to their own destruction." So 
by these men, and this means, many came to believe the Bishops 
to be Anti-christ, and the only obstructors of God's discipline; and 
many of them were at last given over to such desperate delusions 
as to find out a text in the Revelation of St. John, that "Anti-christ 
was to be overcome by the sword," which they were very ready to 
take into their hands. . . . And at last . . . they durst threaten 
first the Bishops, and not long after both the Queen and Parliament' 
[cf. line 13]. Cf. Westmoreland 2, Prose Works 2.318. 

5 Walton, Cranmer's Letter to Hooker, in Lives 2.114-15: 
' Certain prophets did arise, who deeming it not possible that God 
should suffer that undone which they did so fiercely desire to have 
done, namely that his holy saints, the favorers and fathers of the 
discipline, should be enlarged and delivered from persecution, . . . 
forthwith must needs be the instruments of this great work: . . . 
"Such and such are men unworthy to govern, pluck them down: 
such and such are the dear children of God, let them be advanced." ' 

9 Heylin, Cyp. Angl., p. 499: 'For the Pope never had such an 
harvest in England since the Reformation, as he hath now upon 
the sects and divisions that are now among us.' Walton, op. cit. 
2.121: 'The last which have received strength and encouragement 
from the reformers are Papists.' 

ii Wordsworth, note on 2.41: 'A common device in religious 
and political conflicts. See Strype in support of this instance.' 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 277 

Strype, Life and Acts of Matthew Parker 1459: 'In this year [1566] 
came one of these dissenting preachers (in appearance, but in truth 
a Dominican Friar) to Maidstone. . . . Divers others resorted 
hither, inquiring for this man, whose name was Faithful Cummin. 
. . . Being thus met, . . . Cummin exercised extemporary prayer 
for about two hours, groaning and weeping much.' He was 
questioned by Archbishop Parker; then he departed 'beyond sea.' 

242 

1-4 Fuller, Ch. Hist. 3.213: 'By transferring the fact on the 
then most innocent Puritans, they hoped not only to decline the 
odium of so hellish a design, but also, by the strangeness of the 
act and unsuspectedness of the actors, to amuse all men, and beget 
an universal mistrust, that every man would grow jealous of 
himself.' 

7,10 Ibid.: 'They fall a- working in the vault. Dark the place, 
in the depth of the earth; dark the time, in the dead of night; 
dark the design, all the actors therein concealed by oath from 
others, and thereby combined amongst themselves.' 

12-14 St. Bartholomew's was a stock comparison (cf. Burnet, 
Hist. Own Time 1.336). 

243 

I Wordsworth, note on 243: The 'Jung-Frau.' 
1-14 Cf. Journals 2.201, 205; cf. also Desc. Seen. Lakes, Prose 
Works 2.90. Knight (P. W., Eversley ed., 7.70) prints extracts 
from the journal of Mrs. Wordsworth. Wordsworth had seen the 
falls near Schaffhausen during his first Continental tour (Letters 
1.15). When Eccl. Son. 243 was printed with Mem. Tour Cont. 
1820, the following note accompanied it on p. 14: 'This sonnet 
belongs to another publication, but from its fitness for this place 
is inserted here also. "Voila un enfer d'eau," cried out a German 
friend of Ramond, falling on his knees on the scaffold in front of 
this waterfall. See Ramond's translation of Coxe.' 

244 

1-14 Dyer, Hist. Camb. 1.114-15: 'History possesses its quiet 
description of facts, its distinct periods, its regular round of story. 
These we look for, of course; we like information, and are pleased 
to hear of things as they are. But what gives interest to history 
is that which sometimes disturbs our repose; the bold projecting 
points, which fix the attention, and command our admiration; its 
divisions, dissensions, revolutions, and wars: as in the natural 
world we may expect what is orderly; are pleased with the gliding 
stream, with the spacious meadow, with gardens that are decorated 
with flowers, and fields standing thick with corn. But then there's 
th'e burst of elements! we gaze with wonder at the storm; and 



278 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

are carried out of ourselves by the earthquake and volcano, which 
bears away all around it.' Cf. Milton, Eikonoclastes 4: 'Finally, 
instead of praying for his people as a good king should do, he 
[Charles I] prays to be delivered from them, as " from wild beasts, 
inundations, and raging seas, that had overborne all loyalty, mod- 
esty, laws, justice, and religion." ' Cf. also Dryden, Astrcea Redux 
22: ' Madness the pulpit, faction seiz'd the throne.' 
12 Cf. Reply to Mathetes, Prose Works 1.86-7. 

2-45 

1-14 Wordsworth, note on 2.45, added in 1827: 'In this age a 
word cannot be said in praise of Laud, or even in compassion for 
his fate, without incurring a charge of bigotry; but fearless of such 
imputation, I concur with Hume, "that it is sufficient for his vindi- 
cation to observe that his errors were the most excusable of all 
those which prevailed during that zealous period." A key to the 
right understanding of those parts of his conduct that brought the 
most odium upon him in his own time may be found in the following 
passage of his speech before the bar of the House of Peers: "Ever 
since I came in place, I have labored nothing more than the external 
public worship of God, so much slighted in divers parts of this 
kingdom, might be preserved, and that with as much decency and 
uniformity as might be. For I evidently saw that the public 
neglect of God's service in the outward face of it, and the nasty 
lying of many places dedicated to that service, had almost cast a 
damp upon the true and inward worship of God, which while we live 
in the body, needs external helps, and all little enough to keep it in 
any vigor. 1 Fenwick note: 'Before I conclude my notice of these 
sonnets, let me observe that the opinion I pronounced in favor of 
Laud (long before the Oxford Tract Movement), and which had 
brought censure upon me from several quarters, is not in the least 
changed. Omitting here to examine into his conduct in respect to 
the persecuting spirit with which he has been charged, I am per- 
suaded that most of his aims to restore ritual practices which had 
been abandoned were good and .wise, whatever errors he might 
commit in the manner he sometimes attempted to enforce them. 
I further believe that, had not he and others who shared his opinions 
and felt as he did, stood up in opposition to the reformers of that 
period, it is questionable whether the Church would ever have 
recovered its lost ground and become the blessing it now is, and 
will, I trust, become in a still greater degree, both to those of its 
communion and to those who unfortunately are separated from it.' 

I Heylin, Cyp. AngL, p. 423: 'But worse presages than all 
these, were the breaking out of divers plots and practices against 
him by the opposite factions; not only the Puritans but the Papists 
conspiring against him, and both resolved to bring him to his fatal 
end by some means or other.' 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 279 

3 Ibid., p. 496: 'So well was he studied in the art of dying 
(especially in the last and strictest part of his imprisonment) that 
by continual fastings, watchings, prayers, and such like acts of 
Christian humiliation, his flesh was rarefied into spirit, and the 
whole man so fitted for eternal glories, that he was more than half 
in Heaven, before Death brought his bloody (but triumphant) 
chariot [cf. lines 9-10], to convey him thither. He that had so 
long been a Confessor, could not but think it a release of miseries 
to be made a martyr.' 

9 Cf. Judges 5.28. 

10 Heylin, op. cit., p. 497: 'I am going apace (as you see) 
towards the Red Sea.' 

2.46 

i One of two references to the harp in Eccl. Son. This is an 
apostrophe, and recalls two similar verses in The White Doe (324, 
330). 

2-4 Exodus 15-20, particularly the passages where the Com- 
mandments are interpreted by Moses to the children of Israel. 

3-6 Milton, P. L. 1. 10-12: 

Or if Sion Hill 

Delight thee more, and Siloa's Brook that flow'd 
Fast by the Oracle of God. 

4 Milton (Defensio Prima) quotes Psalm 51.6, which Salmasius 
urges in behalf of Charles I; and (Eikonodastes 9,23) he scornfully 
refers to the use of David's Psalms by the author of Eikon Basilike. 
Cf. also Dryden's mention of David's harp in Absalom and Achitophel. 

6 Cf. Milton, P. L. 4.538. 

9-14 These lines may be semi-ironical; Wordsworth's use of 
'but,' line 12, indicates a turn from the idea of a 'stern God' 
despising ' King and Priest.' Two passages in Burnet's Hist. Own 
Time bear out such an interpretation (1.72, 84): 'The preachers 
thundered in their pulpits against all that did the work of the Lord 
deceitfully, and cried out against all that were for moderate pro- 
ceedings, as guilty of the blood that had been shed. Thine eye 
shall not pity, and thou shall not spare, were often inculcated. . . . 
I had much discourse with one who knew Cromwell well, and all 
that set of men; and asked him how they could excuse all the 
prevarications and other ill things of which they were visibly guilty 
in the conduct of their affairs. He told me they believed there 
were great occasions in which some men were called to great 
services, in the doing of which they were excused from the common 
rules of morality: such were the practices of Ehud and Jael, Samson 
and David: and by this they fancied they had a privilege from 
observing the standing rules. It is obvious how far this principle 
may be carried, and how all justice and mercy may be laid aside 
on this pretence by every bold enthusiast.' 



280 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

Milton ends his Eikonodastes 28 with the praise of justice. He 
says of Charles I (ibid. 3) : ' He appealed to God's tribunal, and 
behold! God hath judged and done to him in the sight of all men 
according to the verdict of his own mouth: to be a warning to all 
kings hereafter how they use presumptuously the words and pro- 
testations of David, without the spirit and conscience of David. 
. . . But God and his judgments have not been mocked.' Here 
Wordsworth might have laid upon Milton the warning that the 
latter gave to Charles or the author of Eikon Basilike (Eikonodastes 
8) : ' Most men are too apt ... to interpret and expound the judg- 
ments of God, and all other events of Providence or chance, as 
makes most to the justifying of their own cause.' 

13-14 Knight, P. W., Eversley ed., 7.73: 'See Psalm 36.5,6.' 

3-1 

1-14 Fenwick note, Knight, P. W., Eversley ed., 7.73: 'When 
I came to this part of the series, I had the dream described in this 
sonnet. The figure was that of my daughter, and the whole 
passed exactly as here represented. The sonnet was composed on 
the middle road leading from Grasmere to Ambleside: it was begun 
as I left the last house of the vale, and finished, word for word as 
it now stands, before I came in view of Rydal. I wish I could say 
the same of the five or six hundred I have written: most of them 
were frequently retouched in the course of composition, and not a 
few, laboriously.' Cf. White Doe 442-5; Highland Girl 11-19; 
Eg. Maid 301-6. Walton recounts experiences of this sort for 
their premonitory value; Wordsworth would notice the dream of 
Donne about his wife, and that of Nicholas Wotton. 

3-2 

4-14 Cf. the passage in Milton's Church-gov. 2: '. . . or should 
she [the Church] by blessing from above on the industry and courage 
of faithful men, change this her distracted estate into better days' ; 
and his exhortation to the rulers and people of England in the 
Defensio Secunda. Cf. White Doe 1261-6: 

Might this our enterprise have sped, 

Change wide and deep the Land had seen, 

A renovation from the dead, 

A spring-tide of immortal green: 

The darksome altars would have blazed 

Like stars when clouds are rolled away. 

3-3 

1-14 Burnet, Hist. Own Time 1.168: 'With the restoration of 
the King, a spirit of extravagant joy spread over the nation, that 
brought on with it the throwing off the very professions of virtue 
and piety; all ended in entertainments and drunkenness, which 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 281 

overran the three kingdoms to such a degree that it very much 
corrupted all their morals. Under the color of drinking the King's 
health, there were great disorders and much riot everywhere; and 
the pretences of religion, both in those of the hypocritical sort, and 
of the more honest but no less pernicious enthusiasts, gave great 
advantages, as well as they furnished much matter, to the profane 
mockers of true piety.' 

1-2 Clarendon, Hist, of the Rebellion 6.264: 'On Monday he 
went to Rochester, and the next day, being the 29th of May, and 
his birthday, he entered London, all the ways from Dover thither 
being so full of people and exclamations as if the whole kingdom 
had been gathered. About or above Greenwich the Lord Mayor 
and aldermen met him, with all those protestations of joy which 
can hardly be imagined. And the concourse [was] so great that 
the King rode in a crowd from the bridge to Temple Bar. All the 
companies of the city stood in order on both sides, giving loud 
thanks [to God] for his majesty's presence. And he no sooner came 
to Whitehall but the two houses of Parliament solemnly cast 
themselves at his feet, with all the vows of affection and fidelity to 
the world's end. In a word, the joy was so unexpressible and so 
universal, that His Majesty said smilingly to some about him, 
that he doubted it had been his own fault that he had been absent 
so long, for he saw nobody that did not protest he had ever wished 
for his return.' 

3-7 Dryden, Astrcea Redux 87, 97: 'Inur'd to suffer ere he 
came to reign,' and 'In such adversities to sceptres trained.' Cf. 
also Gray, Hymn to Adversity; Cowley, Ode upon His Majesty's 
Restoration and Return; Bacon, Of Adversity; and especially Milton, 
Eikonodastes 27: '[Charles II was unlike David, who] by suffering 
without just cause, learned that meekness and that wisdom by ad- 
versity, which made him much the fitter man to reign.' Cf. Artegal 
207-8 : 

Proof shalt thou furnish that misfortune, pain, 

And sorrow, have confirmed thy native right to reign. 

9 Burnet, op. cit. 1.170: 'The ruin of his reign, and of all his 
affairs, was occasioned chiefly by his delivering himself up at his 
first coming over to a mad range of pleasure.' Cf. Milton, Eikono- 
dastes 13: ' Circean cup of servitude.' 

10-11 Cowley, op. cit.: 'Wild and deformed chaos.' 

14 Dryden, Cowley; Clarendon, Burnet. 

34 

1-2 Burnet, Hist. Own Time 1.341-2: 'This set of men at 
Cambridge studied to assert and examine the principles of religion 
and morality on clear grounds, and in a philosophical method. In 
this More led the way to many that came after him. Worthington 



282 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

was a man of eminent piety and great humility, and practised a 
most sublime way of self-denial and devotion. All these, and those 
who were formed under them, studied to examine further into the na- 
ture of things than had been done formerly. They declared against 
superstition on the one hand, and enthusiasm on the other. They 
loved the constitution of the Church, and the liturgy, and could 
well live under them; but they did not think it unlawful to live 
under another form. They wished that things might have been 
carried with more moderation. And they continued to keep a 
good correspondence with those who had differed from them in 
opinion, and allowed a great freedom both in philosophy and in 
divinity. . . . And upon this men of narrower thoughts and fiercer 
tempers fastened upon them the name of Latitudinarians.' 

3-5 Ibid. 1.339-40, of the Cambridge Latitudinarians: 'Whitch- 
cot was a man of a rare temper, very mild and obliging. . . . He 
was much for liberty of conscience; and being disgusted with the 
dry systematical way of those times, he studied to raise those who 
conversed with him to a nobler set of thoughts, and to consider 
religion as a seed of a deiform nature (to use one of his own phrases). 
In order to this, he set young students much on reading the ancient 
philosophers, chiefly Plato, Tully, and Plotin, and on considering 
the Christian religion as a doctrine sent from God both to elevate 
and sweeten human nature; in which he was a great example, as 
well as a wise and kind instructor. Cudworth carried this on with 
a great strength of genius and a vast compass of learning. . . . 
Wilkins was ... a great observer, and a promoter of experimental 
philosophy, which was then a new thing, and much looked after. 
. . . The most eminent of those who were formed under those 
great men were Tillotson, Stillingfleet, and Patrick.' 

4 See Cooper, Wordsworth? s Knowledge of Plato, Mod. Lang. 
Notes 33497-9- 

5 Cf. Milton, Comus 461: 'The unpolluted temple of the mind.' 
6-13 Milton is indicated. Cf . the description of Francis Norton 

in The White Doe (753-61). 

13-14 Milton, P. L. 3.45-55, as Knight indicates (P. W., Ever- 
sley ed., 7.77). 

3-5 

i Walton (Hooker, in Lives 2.83) repeats the words of James I 
about Hooker: 'Doubtless there is in every page of Mr. Hooker's 
book the picture of a divine soul, such pictures of truth and reason, 
and drawn in so sacred colors, that they shall never fade, but give 
an immortal memory to the author.' Bede (Eccl. Hist., ed. by 
Plummer, 1.66-7) quotes Luke 10.20: 'In hoc gaudete, quia nomina 
vestra scripta sunt in caelo.' 

2-4 Lienemann (Belesenheit, p. 16) refers these three lines to. H. 
Constable's Diana: To the King of Scots; Knight likewise (P. W., 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 283 

Eversley ed., 7.77). Knight gives other parallels. Walton (Donne, 
op.cit. 1.63) compares Donne when preaching to 'an angel from a 
cloud, but in none.' He refers (Hooker, ibid. 2.97) to Hooker's guard- 
ian angel, and continues (ibid. 2.99): '[Before his death he told Dr. 
Sara via that] he was meditating the number and nature of angels, 
and their blessed obedience and order, without which peace could not 
be in heaven ; and oh ! that it might be so on earth ! ' Wordsworth (Let- 
ter to a Friend of Burns, Prose Works 2.263-4) says of ' the venerable 
spirit of Isaac Walton' that it was qualified to accompany, 'as it 
were upon wings, the pilgrim along the sorrowful road which he 
trod on foot.' 

4-5 Walton (Wotton, op. cit. 1.192-3) quotes Wotton's words 
to Mr. John Hales: 'Almighty God hath, by his grace, prevented 
me from making shipwreck of faith and a good conscience.' He 
comments upon Donne's 'charity' (Donne, ibid. 1.90). 

6 The statesman, Wotton; the priests, Donne, Herbert, Hooker, 
and Sanderson; the citizen, Walton. 

7 The adjectives 'mild and humble' are Used of Hooker (op. 
cit. 2.88). 

8 At the conclusion of his Lenten sermon, 1630, Donne said to 
a friend (op. cit. 1.98): 'I am therefore full of inexpressible joy, 
and shall die in peace.' 

9-10 Cf. Journals 1.18, 52, 55; and The Pilgrim's Dream. 

11-13 When Wotton departed for Venice, Donne addressed 
him as (op. cit. 1.146) '[a] taper of his [James's] torch, ... a fair 
beam of the same warm and dazzling sun.' Walton called Donne 
(op. cit. 1.68) 'a shining light among his old friends.' 

14 The epithet 'meek' which Wordsworth applies to Walton, 
Walton applies to Hooker (op. cit. 2.44, 74). 

3-6 

1-6 Dyer, Hist. Camb. 1.119: 'They objected to the discipline 
of the Church, not to its doctrines; accordingly, disapproving the 
terms of conformity, they were set aside from their benefices. 
About 2000 clergymen in different parts of England were obliged 
to relinquish their livings in the Church, and many were ejected 
from the University of Cambridge.' 

2-3 Ibid. 1.112: 'There were men on each side of great abilities, 
equally excelling in the learning which distinguished those times; 
and the presumption is that most on each side, who chose to abide 
by their principles and relinquish their preferments, were men of 
some worth; and by very many on both sides the latter was 
preferred.' Burnet, Hist. Own Time 1.349: 'There was a great 
debate in council a little before St. Bartholomew's day, whether 
the act of uniformity should be punctually executed, or .not.' 



284 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

4-6 Ibid. 1.351: 'After St. Bartholomew's day, the dissenters, 
seeing both Court and Parliament was so much set against them, 
had much consultation together what to do. Many were for going 
over to Holland, and settling there with their ministers. Others 
proposed New England and the other plantations.' 

7 Dyer, op. cit. i.xxv: 'He who trifles with the opinions of 
others, or grows wanton over their mistakes, does it at his own 
peril; he who obeys his conscience and follows truth, has nothing 
to fear.' 

13-14 The strong opposition between 'self-deceiving wit' and 
'the cause of God' suggests that Wordsworth had in mind and 
adapted the anecdote related by Dyer (ibid. I .xxiii-xxiv) when he 
disclaimed bigotry, and would not judge between ' Papist, Episco- 
palian, or Puritan; . . . Arian, Socinian, or Methodist; Unitarian, 
Trinitarian, or Deist.' 'Who is true to his Church . . . and who 
to his opinions ... let others settle. ... I have nothing to do 
with men, but with their writings. I am reminded of what one of 
our old masters of St. John's College said, who lived in canting 
times. Being, on a certain election, urged to use his influence for 
the godly, "This is a case," he replied, "which relates not to 
godliness, but learning. Besides, men may deceive me with their 
godliness; they cannot with their learning."' 

3-7 

1-4 Smith, Poems of W. W. 2.518: 'The massacre of the 
Vaudois in April, 1655, excited great indignation in England, and 
especially moved Cromwell and Milton. The latter wrote his 
famous sonnet Avenge, Lord, Thy slaughtered saints, while Crom- 
well tried to stir up the Protestant powers and France to a war 
with Spain and Savoy. He succeeded in getting the Duke of 
Savoy forced to drop the persecution of the Vaudois.' 

5-12 Burnet (Hist. Own Time 1.429-33) gives an account of 
the Pentland rebels: 'At Lanarick, in Cliddisdale, they had a 
solemn fast day, in which, after much praying, they renewed the 
covenant and set out their manifesto.' Under Sharp's orders 
Dalziel marched westward and attacked the rebels, Nov. 28, 1666; 
the rebels were posted on the top of a hill: 'Their ministers did 
all they could by preaching and praying to infuse courage into 
them; and they sung the seventy-fourth and the seventy-eighth 
Psalms. And so they turned on the king's forces. They received 
the first charge that was given by the troop of guards very reso- 
lutely, and put them in disorder. But that was all the action; 
for immediately they lost all order, and ran for their lives. It was 
now dark: about forty were killed on the spot, and a hundred and 
thirty were taken. . . . Lord Rothes . . . resolved to proceed 
with the utmost severity against the prisoners.' Attempts were 
made to mollify the judges, but without success. ' It was a moving 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 285 

sight to see ten of the prisoners hanged upon one gibbet at Edin- 
burgh; thirty-five were sent to their countries, and hanged up 
before their own doors.' Knight, P. W., Eversleyed., 7.79: 'Com- 
pare The Excursion 1.175-6.' 

ii See Burnet (ibid. 1430) for the operatign of 'councils 
senseless as intolerant.' 

13-14 Cf. Bede, Eccl. Hist., tr. by Sellar, p. 48, who says of 
Ethelbert: 'For he had learned from those who had instructed 
him and guided him to salvation, that the service of Christ ought 
to be voluntary, not by compulsion.' Cf. also White Doe 872-3. 



1-14 Wordsworth, note on i.n: 'Upon the acquittal of the 
Seven Bishops I have done little more than versify a lively descrip- 
tion of that event in the MS. Memoirs of the first Lord Lonsdale.' 
Burnet, who was familiar with the MS., must have used it in his 
account, which is in several phrases identical with the sonnet (Hist. 
Own Time 3.222 ff.): 'Towards the end of April [1688] the. King 
[James II] thought fit to renew the declaration that he had set out 
the former year for liberty of conscience. . . . The King was not 
satisfied with the publishing his declaration: but he resolved to 
oblige the clergy to read it in all their churches in the time of divine 
service. . . . They resolved not to read the declaration. [San- 
croft, the Archbishop of Canterbury], with six of the bishops that 
came up to London, resolved in a petition to the king to lay before 
him the reasons that determined them not to obey the order of 
council that had been sent them. . . . The six bishops were St. 
Asaph, Ely, Bath and Wells, Peterborough, Chichester, and Bristol. 
. . . After a fortnight's consultation, the bishops were cited to 
appear before the council ; ... in the next place . . . to appear 
in the Court of the King's Bench, and answer to an information 
of misdemeanor. They excepted to this; and said that by their 
peerage they were not bound to do it. Upon their insisting on 
this, they were sent to the Tower. . . . This set all the whole city 
into the liighest fermentation that was ever known in memory of 
man. The Bishops were sent by water to the Tower; and all along as 
they passed, the banks of the river were full of people who kneeled down 
and asked their blessing. ... A week after their commitment, they 
were brought upon a habeas corpus to the King's Bench Bar. . . . 
They were required to enter into bonds for small sums, to answer 
to the information that day fortnight. . . . The bishops were 
discharged of their imprisonment; and people of all sorts ran to 
visit them as confessors, one company going in as another went out. 
. . . All the streets were full of shoutings the rest of the day, and 
with bonfires at night. . . . The trial did last long, above ten 
hours. The crowds continued in expectation all the while. . . . The 
jury was fairly returned. When they were shut up, they were 



286 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

soon agreed upon their verdict, to acquit the Bishops. But it was 
thought to be the more solemn and the safer way to continue shut 
up till the morning. . . . The court sat again next day. And 
then the jury came in with their verdict, upon which there were 
such shoutings, so long continued, and as it were echoed into the 
city, that all the people were struck with it. Every man seemed 
transported with joy. Bonfires were made all about the streets. And 
the news going over the nation, produced the like rejoicings and bonfires 
all England over.' The italics are mine. 

3-9 

1-4 Burnet, Hist. Own Time 3.325: 'The prince still retained 
his usual calmness, and the same tranquillity of spirit that I had 
observed in him in his happiest days.' 

5-8 Ibid. 3.132: 'I fancied his belief of predestination made 
him more adventurous than was necessary. But he said as to that, 
he firmly believed a providence; for if he should let that go, all his 
religion would be much shaken; and he did not see how providence 
could be certain, if all things did not arise out of the absolute will 
of God.' After the successful trip to England the Prince took 
Burnet (ibid. 3.328) 'heartily by the hand, and asked me if I would 
not now believe predestination.' 

9-10 The Prince's declaration ended with the resolution that 
he would consider (ibid. 3.301) 'proper and effectual remedies for 
redressing . . . evils, in a parliament that should be lawfully 
chosen, and should sit in full freedom, according to the ancient 
custom and Constitution of England, with which he would concur 
in all things that might tend to the peace and happiness of the 
nation.' 

II From Torbay to Exeter, to Crookhorn, to Sherburn. 

13-14 Ibid. 3.342-4, for the account of the vacillation and 
flight of James: 'Thus a great king, who had a good army and a 
strong fleet, did choose rather to abandon all, than either to expose 
himself to any danger with that part of the army that was still 
firm to him, or to stay and see the issue of a parliament.' 

3.10 

1-8 Burnet (Hist. Own Time 2.351 ff.) gives an account of the 
affairs of Sidney ('a man of most extraordinary courage, a steady 
man, even to obstinacy, sincere, but of a rough and boisterous 
temper'), and of Russell ('serene and calm'). He adds (ibid. 2.388): 
'After he [Russell] had delivered this paper, he prayed by himself; 
then Tillotson prayed with him. After that he prayed again by 
himself; and then undressed himself and laid his head on the 
block, without the least change of countenance; and it was cut off 
at two strokes.' Of Sidney, Burnet says (ibid. 2.410) : 'And indeed 
he met death with an uncpncernedness that became one who had 
set up Marcus Brutus for his pattern.' 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 287 

8-12 In Cranmer's Letter, given by Walton (Lives 2.120-1), 
the 'two causes ... of atheism' are as follows: 'More abundance 
of wit than judgment, and of witty than judicious learning; where- 
by they are more inclined to contradict anything than willing to 
be informed of the truth. They are not therefore men of sound 
learning, for the most part, but smatterers; neither is their kind 
of dispute so much by force of argument as by scoffing. Which 
humor of scoffing and turning matters most serious into merriment 
is now become so common, as we are not to marvel what the 
Prophet means by "the seat of scorners"! ... A second cause of 
atheism is sensuality, which maketh men desirous to remove all 
stops and impediments of their wicked life. . . . But what conceit 
can be imagined more base than that man should persuade himself 
even against the secret instinct (no doubt) of his own mind, that 
his soul is as the soul of a beast, mortal, and corruptible with the 
body? ... Surely the soul were not able to conceive anything of 
heaven, no not so much as to dispute against heaven, and against 
God, if there were not in it something heavenly and derived from 
God.' 

13-14 Walton, Hooker, ibid. 2.85: 'For spiritual things are 
spiritually discerned.' See I Corinthians 2.14. 



1-14 Burnet (Hist. Own Time 5.434) discusses at length the 
affair of Sacheverell, 'this being one of the most extraordinary 
transactions in my time.' 

1-3 Ibid. 5.436-9: 'There had been, ever since the queen 
came to the crown, an open revival of the doctrine of passive 
obedience and non-resistance, by one Lesley. . . . One Hoadly, a 
pious and judicious divine . . . asserted that it was not only 
lawful, but a duty incumbent on all men, to resist . . . [bad and 
cruel governors]; concluding all with a vindication of the revolution 
and the present government. Upon this, a great outcry was 
raised, as if he had preached rebellion. . . . Sacheverell did with 
great virulence reflect on him, and on me [Burnet], and on several 
other Bishops, carrying his venom as far back as to Archbishop 
Grindal, whom, for his moderation, he called a perfidious prelate 
and a false son of the Church.' 

4-5 Ibid. 5.434: 'Dr. Sacheverell was a bold, insolent man, 
with a very small measure of religion, virtue, learning, or good 
sense; but he resolved to force himself into popularity and prefer- 
ment by the most petulant railings at dissenters and low churchmen, 
in several sermons and libels wrote without either chasteness of 
style or liveliness of expression: all was one unpractised strain of 
indecent and scurrilous language.' 

6 Sacheverell was impeached by the House of Commons. 
During the trial at Westminster hall there were great disorders. 



288 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

6-8 Ibid. 5.445-6: ' Many of the queen's chaplains stood about 
him, encouraging and magnifying him; and it was given out that 
the queen herself favored him.' 

9-10 Ibid. 5.444: 'The word upon which all shouted was The 
Church and Sacheverell ! and such as joined not in the shout were 
insulted and knocked down: before my own door one with a spade 
cleft the skull of another, who would not shout as they did.' 

11-14 Ibid. 5.439: ' The clergy did generally espouse Sacheverell 
as their champion, who had stood in the breach; and so they 
reckoned his cause was their own.' For 'fierce extremes' cf. 
Milton, P. L. 2.598 ff. 

3.12 

1-14 For the textual history of this sonnet, see p. 199. Cf. 
Journals 2.180-1, especially the following: 'All these monuments 
of former times combine with villages and churches, and dells 
(between the steeps) green or corn-clad, and with the majestic river 
(here spread out like a lake), to compose a most affectingly beautiful 
scene, whether viewed in prospect or in retrospect. Still we rolled 
along (ah! far too swiftly! . . .) meeting the flowing river, smooth 
as glass, yet so rapid that the stream of motion is always perceptible, 
even from a great distance.' 

3-12 Cf. Bowles, Sonnet on the River Rhine, lines 6-14: 

Lo! the woods open, and the rocks retire, 
Some convent's ancient walls or glist'ning spire 
'Mid the bright landscape's track unfolding slow. 
Here dark, with furrow'd aspect, like despair, 
Frowns the bleak cliff there on the woodland's side 
The shadowy sunshine pours its streaming tide; 
Whilst Hope, enchanted with the scene so fair, 
Would wish to linger many a summer's day, 
Nor heeds how fast the prospect winds away. 

3-13, H, 15 

For the circumstances attending the composition of these three 
sonnets, see pp. 50-3. Wordsworth, note on 3.13, 14, 15: 'Amer- 
ican episcopacy, in union with the Church in England, strictly 
belongs to the general subject; and I here make my acknowledg- 
ments to my American friends, Bishop Doane, and Mr. Henry 
Reed of Philadelphia, for having suggested to me the propriety of 
adverting to it, and pointed out the virtues and intellectual qualities 
of Bishop White, which so eminently fitted him for the great work 
he undertook. Bishop White was consecrated at Lambeth, Feb. 4, 
1787, by Archbishop Moore; and before his long life was closed, 
twenty-six bishops had been consecrated in America, by himself. 
For his character and opinions see his own numerous Works, and 
a Sermon in Commemoration of him, by George Washington Doane, 
Bishop of New Jersey.' 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 289 

13.10-12 Bishop Seabury, in his Brief View (p. 2), a sermon 
on Bishop White sent by Seabury himself to Wordsworth (Memoirs 
2-389), refers to Moses and the children of Israel: 'He conducted 
them in their perilous sojourn through the wilderness, heading 
them in the hour of danger, guiding them in perplexity, and cheering 
them in adversity, until they arrived at the confines of the promised 
land.' Seabury applies the figure to the leadership of White. 

13.13-14 Bishop Doane's Sermon has as its text Proverbs 4.18: 
1 The path of the just is as the shining light.,' 

14.1-9 Bishop Seabury (op. cit., pp. 21-2) speaks of 'the 
excellence of our laws in discouraging the spirit of caprice and 
innovation without repressing a prudent zeal,' and of 'the whole- 
some restraints of our discipline,' which, 'far from checking the 
flow of piety, have served rather to guide it in the channels of 
peace and order.' 

14.9-14 Bishop Doane's Sermon (p. 6) has a passage very like 
the sestet of Wordsworth's sonnet: 'Nor does the glorious progress 
ever terminate. . . . "They go on from strength to strength." 
They rise from grace to grace. Knowledge is added to knowledge. 
Virtue is builded upon virtue. . . . Triumph lends facility to 
triumph. Conquest gathers security from conquest.' Cf. also 
Seabury, op. cit., p. 25: 'Happy are we, my brethren, as a Church 
at unity with herself.' 

15.1 Bishop Doane's Sermon begins with a rhapsody on the 
word 'light.' 

15.7 Cf. the 'Church at unity' of the note on 14.9-14. 

15.8 Letter to Wordsworth from Henry Reed, April 7, 1840, 
in MS. in the collection of Mrs. St. John: 'I have in my mind the 
career of the late Bishop White (the grandfather of my wife) a 
long old age was his in the enjoyment of unbroken health. Year 
after year came round, and we beheld him still zealous in his 
ecclesiastical functions, active for the good of mankind, with his 
kindred and friends around him, awaiting with placid piety his last 
hour; and thus was his life protracted to near the verge of 90 years, 
and to the last his length of days was a happiness to himself and a 
blessing mercifully vouchsafed to his fellow men.' Cf. also Doane, 
op. cit., p. 28: 'His saintly death.' 

15.9 Seabury, op. cit. (p. 7): 'The venerable patriarch'; and 
(p. 26) : 'The family that has been reared and educated and advan- 
tageously settled in life by the labors of a father . . . grieve at 
his loss'; and (p. 22): 'Our missionaries, Bishops as well as Pres- 
byters, are found in the distant extremes of both hemispheres.' 

15.11 Doane, op. cit., p. 14: 'A Church was to be reformed, 
and Thomas Cranmer rose. A Church was to be built up, and he 
sent William White.' 

15.12 Cf. the note on 14.1-9. 
20 



290 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

15.13-14 Seabury, op. cit., p. 21: 'The silent influence of 
collective wisdom embodied in a primitive and catholic liturgy.' 
Doane (op. cit.) refers to the Scriptures in this connection, and 
continues (p. 16): 'The learning of our senior Bishop ... he 
[poured out] as freely as men pour out water, and with as much 
simplicity.' Cf. the note on Eccl. Son. 1.25.13-14. Doane is also 
the source of the unusual phrase 'patient energy' (p. 17). 

3-16 

1-5 The Annotated Book of Common Prayer, ed. by Blunt, 1871, 
p. 557: 'And now again we exhort you, in the Name of our Lord 
Jesus Christ, that you have in remembrance into how high a 
Dignity, and to how weighty an Office and Charge ye are called: 
that is to say, to be Messengers, Watchmen, and Stewards of the 
Lord; to teach and to prempnish, to feed and provide for the 
Lord's family; to seek for Christ's sheep that are dispersed abroad, 
and for his children who are in the midst of this naughty world, 
that they may be saved through Christ for ever. . . . Have alw r ays 
therefore printed in your remembrance, how great a treasure is 
committed to your charge. For they are the sheep of Christ, 
which he bought with his death, and for whom he shed his blood.' 
Cf. Jeremiah 5.6, Ezekiel 22.27, Habakkuk 1.8, Zephaniah 3.3, 
Matthew 7.15 and 10.16, Acts 20.29. 

9-14 Ibid., p. 557: 'And if it shall happen the same Church, 
or any Member thereof, to take any hurt or hindrance by reason 
of your negligence, ye know the greatness of the fault, and also the 
horrible punishment that will ensue.' 

12 Cf. the 'gulf profound' of Milton's Serbonian bog (P.L. 
2.592); cf. also (Apology) his reference to 'the non-resident and 
plurality-gaping prelates, the gulfs and whirlpools of benefices, but 
the dry pits of all sound [line 10] doctrine.' 

13 Henry Reed wrote to Wordsworth, Sept. 28, 1843, a letter 
now in the collection of Mrs. St. John: 'In the sonnet ^ on the 
ordination and consecration services is there not a possibility that 
the "if" in the last line but one ("if rightly taught") may be 
misapprehended so as to convey the notion of an expression of 
doubt. I do not at all so understand your meaning, but it has 
occurred to me that it might be so taken, especially as it is preceded 
in the same sentence by another "if," which is purely conditional 
in its meaning, and another of the same kind some lines above. 
Would it admit of the substitution of the word "for" ("for they 
were rightly taught")?' Wordsworth replied (Letters 3.284): 'I 
thank you for your criticism upon the sonnet. Let it be altered 
as you suggest.' But the change was not made in the text. 

3-17 

1-2 Wordsworth usually refers to an individual star. But cf. 
Prelude 6.127-8. 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 291 

3-4 Cf. Misc. Son. 1.32.1-2: 

With Ships the sea was sprinkled far and nigh, 
Like stars in heaven, and joyously it showed. 

5-8 Cf. Duddon 31.1-6: 

The Kirk of Ulpha to the pilgrim's eye 

Is welcome as a star, that doth present 

Its shining forehead through the peaceful rent 

Of a black cloud diffused o'er half the sky: 

Or as a fruitful palm-tree towering high 

O'er the parched waste beside an Arab's tent. 

9-14 Cf. Desc. Seen. Lakes, Prose Works 2.60-3, especially the 
following: 'A man must be very insensible who would not be 
touched with pleasure at the sight of the chapel of Buttermere, so 
strikingly expressing, by its diminutive size, how small must be 
the congregation there assembled, as it were, like one family; and 
proclaiming at the same time to the passenger, in connection with 
the surrounding mountains, the depth of the seclusion in which 
the people live, that has rendered necessary the building of a 
separate place of worship for so few.' 



1-14 Wordsworth, note on 3.18: 'Among the benefits arising, 
as Mr. Coleridge has well observed, from a Church establishment 
of endowments corresponding with the wealth of the country to 
which it belongs, may be reckoned as eminently important, the 
examples of civility and refinement which the clergy stationed at 
intervals afford to the whole people. The established clergy in 
many parts of England have long been, as they continue to be, 
the principal bulwark against barbarism, and the link which unites 
the sequestered peasantry with the intellectual advancement of the 
age. Nor is it below the dignity of the subject to observe that 
their taste, as acting upon rural residences and scenery, often 
furnishes models which country gentlemen, who are more at liberty 
to follow the caprices of fashion, might profit by. The precincts 
of an old residence must be treated by ecclesiastics with respect, 
both from prudence and necessity. I remember being much pleased 
some years ago at Rose Castle, the rural seat of the See of Carlisle, 
with a style of garden and architecture which, if the place had 
belonged to a wealthy layman, would no doubt have been swept 
away. A parsonage-house generally stands not far from the church; 
this proximity imposes favorable restraints, and sometimes sug- 
gests an affecting union. of the accommodations and elegancies of 
life with the outward signs of piety and mortality. With pleasure 
I recall to mind a happy instance of this in the residence of an old 
and much -valued friend in Oxfordshire. The house and church 
stand parallel to each other, at a small distance; a circular lawn, 
or rather grass-plot, spreads between them; shrubs and trees 



292 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

curve from each side of the dwelling, veiling, but not hiding, the 
church. From the front of this dwelling no part of the burial- 
ground is seen; but as you wind by the side of the shrubs towards 
the steeple-end of the church, the eye catches a single, small, low, 
monumental head-stone, moss-grown, sinking into, and gently 
inclining towards the earth. Advance, and the churchyard, 
populous and gay with glittering tombstones, opens upon the view. 
This humble and beautiful parsonage called forth a tribute, for 
which see the seventh of the Miscellaneous Sonnets, Part 1 1 1.' The 
sonnet to which Wordsworth refers was from 1822 to 1827 in print 
only here, at the end of his note on Pastoral Character. Cf. MS. 
F, p. 107; cf. also Excursion 5.97-106, 769. 

3-19 

1-14 Knight, P. W., Eversley ed., 7.89: 'Cf. The Christian 
Year, by Keble, passim.' 

1-3 The phrase 'passionate exercise of lofty thoughts' recalls 
the Preface of 1800: 'The manner in which we associate ideas 
in a state of excitement.' 

9-14 The frequent revision of this sonnet (see p. 201) indicates 
Wordsworth's uncertainty as to the part the liturgical group should 
play in the series. 

14 Revelation 21.1: ' And I saw a new heaven and a new earth : 
for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and 
there was no more sea.' 

3.20 

i Wordsworth wrote to Reed, Sept. 27, 1845, about the edition 
of 1845 (Memoirs 2.425): 'In a very few instances I have altered 
the expression for the worse, on account of the same feeling or 
word occurring rather too near the passage. For example, the 
sonnet on Baptism begins "Blest be the Church." But unfortu- 
nately the word occurs some three or four lines just before or after; 
I have therefore, though reluctantly, substituted the less impressive 
word, "Dear be the Church.'" Does he refer to 'fitliest'? 'Blest' 
occurs no nearer than 3.13 or 3.31; 'blessed,' however, occurs in 
3.16.1. 

1-4 Walton (Hooker, in Lives 2.21-2) speaks of 'the seeds of 
piety ... so seasonably planted, and so continually watered with 
the daily dew of God's blessed spirit, that his infant virtues grew 
into such holy habits as did make him grow daily into more and 
more favor, both with God and man.' Book of Common Prayer, 
ed. by Blunt, pp. 217-18: 'Dearly beloved, forasmuch as all men 
.are conceived and born in sin; and that our Saviour Christ saith, 
None can enter into the kingdom of God, except he be regenerate 
.and born anew of Water and of the holy Ghost; I beseech you to 
call upon God the Father, through our Lord Jesus Christ, that of 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 293 

his bounteous mercy he will grant to this Child that thing which 
by nature he cannot Jhave.' 

8 Ibid., p. 220: 'After the Gospel is read, the Minister shall 
make this brief exhortation upon the words of the Gospel.' See 
ibid., pp. 221-3, f r the pledges of godfathers and godmothers. 

3.21 

1-14 See the Book of Common Prayer, ed. by Blunt, pp. 221-3, 
for the vows of the sponsors. 

12 Shakespeare, Macbeth 4.1.83. 

3.22 

1-14 Hutchinson, P. W., Oxford ed., p. 445: 'See Bishop 
Wordsworth's Memoirs of William Wordsworth 1.8; and The Prelude 
5.256-93.' Memoirs: 'I remember my mother only in some few 
situations, one of which was her pinning a nosegay to my breast 
when I was going to say the Catechism in the church, as was 
customary before Easter.' 

5 Virgil, EC. 1.54-5: 

Hyblaeis apibus florem depasta salicti 
Saepe levi somnum suadebit inire susurro. 

Wordsworth's references to bees are numerous. Cf. Vernal Ode, 
especially line 90: 

To the soft murmur of the vagrant Bee. 

Cf. the vocabulary of this sonnet with that of The Funeral Service, 
Eccl. Son. 3.31 (1845). The diction of the later sonnet is more 
abstract ('vernal posy' 'hope'), more general ('happy hand' 'weal, 
care'), less personal ('Pastor' 'Church'), more formal ('sweet 
flowers' 'blest rite'), less emotional ('anxious heart' 'mortal 
weight'), less suggestive of associated experience ('murmur . . .dis- 
tant bee' 'its natural echo'), and less compact ('heartfelt' 'deep 
in the thankful heart'). 

3-23 

4-5, 8 Book of Common Prayer, ed. by Blunt, p. 256: 'Do ye 
here, in the presence of God, and of this congregation, renew the 
solemn promise and vow that was made in your name at your 
Baptism; rectifying and confirming the same in your own persons, 
and acknowledging yourselves bound to believe, and to do, all 
those things which your Godfathers and Godmothers then under- 
took for you?' 

5-6 Ibid.: ' I do.' 

9-10 Ibid., p. 258: 'Then all of them in order kneeling before 
the Bishop, he shall lay his hand upon the head of every one 
severally.' 



294 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

10 Ibid.: 'Defend, O Lord, this thy child with thy heavenly 
grace, that he may continue thine for ever: and daily increase in 
thy holy Spirit more and more, until he come unto thy everlasting 
kingdom.' 

3-24 
5, 10-13 Milton, P. L. 7.1, 7-12: 

Descend from Heav'n Urania, . . . 
Heav'nlie borne, 

Before the Hills appeerd, or Fountain flow'd, 
Thou with Eternal wisdom didst converse, 
Wisdom thy Sister, and with her didst play 
In presence of th' Almightie Father, pleas'd 
With thy Celestial Song. 

3-25 

5-8 Book of Common Prayer, ed. by Blunt, p. 183: 'Therefore 
with Angels and Archangels, and with all the company of heaven, 
we laud and magnify thy glorious Name.' 

10-11 Ibid., p. 173: 'Do ye not know, that they who would 
minister about holy things live of the sacrifice; and they who wait 
at the altar are partakers with the altar?' 

11-13 Ibid., p. 172: 'Let your light so shine before men, that 
they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is 
in Heaven.' 

13-14 Prayer is made for the Church militant. 

3.26 

2-3 Book of Common Prayer, ed. by Blunt, p. 264: 'Dearly 
beloved, 'we are gathered together here in the sight of God, and in 
the face of this congregation . . .' 

4-5 Ibid., pp. 266-8: 'The Minister, receiving the woman at 
her father's or friend's hands, shall cause the man with his right 
hand to take the woman by her right hand. . . And the woman, 
with her right hand taking the man by his right hand. . . And 
the man shall give unto the woman a ring.' 

5-8 Ibid., p. 269: 'Send thy blessing upon these thy servants 
. . . that . . . [they] may surely perform and keep the vow and 
covenant betwixt them made.' 

10 Spenser, Epithalamion 216-17. Knight and Smith both 
refer to this source. Knight also refers to Southey's All for Love 
4.46 (P. W., Eversley ed., 7.95). 

3-27 

1-14 Harper (William Wordsworth 2.51) quotes from a letter of 
Dorothy Wordsworth to Mrs. Clarkson, July 15, [1803]: 'To-day 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 295 

we have all been at Church. Mary was churched and the babe 
christened.' 

6-8 Book of Common Prayer, ed. by Blunt,*p. 305: 'Forasmuch 
as it hath pleased Almighty God of his goodness to give you safe 
deliverance, and hath preserved you in the great danger of child- 
birth; you shall therefore give hearty thanks unto God.' 

8-13 Notice Wordsworth's adaptation of this liturgical prayer 
(ibid., p. 306): 'Grant, we beseech thee . . . that she, through 
thy help, may both faithfully live, and walk according to thy will 
in this life present.' 

3-28 

4-6 Book of Common Prayer, ed. by Blunt, p. 277: 'When any 
person is sick, notice shall be given thereof to the Minister of the 
Parish; who, coming into the sick person's house, shall say . . . 
When he cometh into the sick man's presence he shall say, kneeling 
down . . . Then the Minister shall say, Let us Pray.' 

7-9 Ibid., pp. 283-4: 'Here shall the sick person be moved to 
make a special confession of his sins, if he feel his conscience 
troubled with any weighty matter. After which confession, the 
Priest shall absolve him (if he humbly and heartily desire it) after 
this sort.' 

9-14 Ibid., p. 279 : 'That, if it be thy good pleasure to restore him 
to his former health, he may lead the residue of his life in thy fear, 
and to thy glory: or else give him grace so to take thy visitation, 
that after this painful life ended he may dwell with thee in life 
everlasting.' 

3.29 

1-3 Book of Common Prayer, ed. by Blunt, pp. 308-9, note: 
'The introduction of the awful Judaic maledictions into the ancient 
service, and the archaic character of the homily, will probably 
always restrict its use to the first day of Lent. The form in which 
these are used is singularly out of character with the general tone 
of the Prayer Book; denunciation of sin ordinarily taking the form 
of a Litany, not of an exhortation, under the Christian dispensation.' 

7-8 Ibid., p. 307: 'The general sentences of God's cursing 
against impenitent sinners . . . and that ye should answer to every 
sentence, Amen.' 

13-14 Ibid., p. 308: 'For now is the axe put unto the root of 
the trees, so that every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is 
hewn down, and cast into the fire.' 

3-30 

5 Book of Common Prayer, ed. by Blunt, p. 525: 'O most 
powerful and glorious Lord God, at whose command the winds 
blow, and lift up the waves of the sea, and who stillest the rage 
thereof . , .' 



296 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

6-8 Ibid., p. 527: 'We . . . humbly present ourselves again 
before thy Divine Majesty, to offer a sacrifice of praise and thanks- 
giving, for that thou heardest us when we called in our trouble, 
and didst not cast out our prayer, which we made before thee in 
our great distress: even when we gave all for lost, our ship, our 
goods, our lives, then didst thou mercifully look upon us, and 
wonderfully command a deliverance.' 

8-14 Ibid., p. 526: 'Thou sittest in the throne judging right, 
and therefore we make our address to thy Divine Majesty in this 
our necessity, that thou wouldest take the cause into thine own 
hand, and judge between us and our enemies.' 

3-31 

1-14 Cf. the last note on Eccl. Son. 3.22. 

5-6 Book of Common Prayer, ed. by Blunt, p. 295: 'I know 
that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day 
upon the earth.' 

9-11 Ibid., p. 297: 'He cometh up, and is cut down, like a 
flower.' Cf. Psalm 103.15: 'As for man, his days are as grass: a 
a flower of the field, so he flourisheth.' 

13-14 i Corinthians 15.55. 

3-32 

i The Book of Common Prayer. 

2-3 Wordsworth, note on 3.32: 'This is still continued in many 
churches in Westmoreland. It takes place in the month of July, 
when the floor of the stalls is strewn with fresh rushes; and hence 
it is called the "Rush-bearing."' Cf. Letters 3.205. 

4-12 Whitaker, Hist. Craven, p. 402: 'Among the seasons of 
periodical festivity was the rush-bearing, or the ceremony of 
conveying fresh rushes to strew the floor of the parish church. 
This method of covering floors was universal in houses while floors 
were of earth; but is now confined to places of worship. The 
bundles of the girls were adorned with wreaths of flowers, and the 
evening concluded with a dance.' 

13-14 Laud's concern for the outward form of worship has been 
mentioned (Eccl. Son. 2.45). Hooker's perambulations are referred 
to by Walton (Lives 2.91-2): 'He would by no means omit the 
customary time of procession, persuading all, both rich and poor, 
if they desired the preservation of love, and their parish rights and 
liberties, to accompany him in his perambulation; and most did 
so: in which perambulation he would usually express more pleasant 
discourse than at other times, and would then always drop some 
loving and facetious observations, to be remembered against the 
next year, especially by the boys and young people; still inclining 
them and all his present parishioners to meekness and mutual 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 297 

kindnesses and love; because "Love thinks not evil, but covers a 
multitude of infirmities.'" 

3-33 

1-6 Whitaker, Hist. Craven, pp. 401-2: ' The Catholic religion 
was admirably calculated to lay hold on the imagination and 
senses of the vulgar. It was a religion of shows and festivities. 
Nor was its influence forgotten in Craven at the end of two centuries 
after the Reformation. Such as the great holidays of the Church, 
the feast of the patron saint, parochial perambulations and religious 
epochs in private families, baptisms, thanksgivings after child- 
birth, marriages, and even burials, were all celebrated with ca- 
rousing. To these may be added the masks, mummeries, and rude 
dramatic performances, which evidently arose out of the mystery 
plays anciently exhibited in the parish church by the minister and 
his clerks. And when we take into account another class of 
feastings purely rustic, such as the sheep-shearing, hay-getting, and 
harvest-home, it cannot be denied that the life of a Craven peasant 
was sufficiently diversified and cheerful.' 

6-8 Cf. Eccl. Son. 2.11.1-3. 

9-14 In these lines the trace of earlier impressions is very clear. 
Cf. Journals 1.3-4, 5> 8, 9, 115, 116, 118. Cf. also Nith 4 and 
Green Linnet 13-16. 

3-34 

1-14 Dyer (Hist. Camb. 2.179), i n ms description of Catherine 
Hall, uses images which are at the basis of Eccl. Son. 3.34, 3-35, 
and 3.37, sonnets illustrating the themes of mutability and charity: 
'Passing from the hall, chapel, and other parts of these buildings, 
we may spend a minute or two agreeably enough in the garden. 
No scene is more pleasing to the eye than a garden, or spreads 
over the mind a finer calm: this, in the present instance, may be 
assisted, on observing how the features of this piece of ground 
harmonize with the general character of the place. It is a flower- 
garden, a little spot, but neat and elegant; formerly, about some 
50 years ago, a statue of Charity stood in the midst; and though 
ancient or foreign statues may not comport well with an English 
garden, as having no relation to the place, and expressing no 
important meaning, yet Charity never faileth; she is the genius of 
all climes and ages; and in a place that was founded by a lady, and 
of which a lady is the protectress saint, a statue of Charity was a 
natural memento, and an appropriate decoration.' 

1-3 Ibid.: 'A contemplative mind might, perhaps, find further 
matter for reflection, on recollecting that on the spot where is now 
the garden, was formerly a chapel: thus time changes everything; 
and the place which at one period is the grave of human beings, 
becomes at another a garden fragrant with sweets, and blooming 
with vegetative life.' This is a concrete expression of 'high to low' 
and 'low to high.' Cf. MS. F, p. 108. 



298 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

10-14 Cf. White Doe 1909-10. 

10-12 Cf. Jo urnals 2.169: ' That once superb but now decaying 
structure . . . "lorded over and possessed by nature.'" 
14 Ibid. 2.168-9: 'The silent progress of time.' 

3-35 

3-12 Wordsworth's note on 3.35: 'This is borrowed from an 
affecting passage in Mr. George Dyer's history of Cambridge.' 
Dyer, op. cit. i.vii-viii: ' It is as natural for people to receive gratifica- 
tion from the history of the places where they were educated, as from 
revisiting them. In both cases, where there is a consciousness of 
having passed the years of early life in literary pursuits, and virtu- 
ous conduct, there will arise a thousand pleasing recollections, 
not affected much by the remembrance of departed friends (for 
what we call melancholy feelings are our better and more salutary 
ones), nor much by a sense of the intermixture of some follies like 
the ivy twining about the oak; for time acts by our follies as by 
our resentments; it teaches us to forgive and forget our own in- 
firmities, not less than those of others: so that, generally speaking, 
in retracing the scenes of early life, and not less in reading their 
history, there will be found a preponderance of pleasure; and hence 
the propriety of combining together a particular with a general 
interest.' Cf. Westmoreland 2, Prose Works 2.319. Cf. also 
Spenser's Ruins of Time, and Wrangham's Ruins o/ Rome. I am 
not certain that Wordsworth knew Volney's Les Ruines? 

13 Refer to the notes on Eccl. Son. 2.3, and to Wordsworth's 
note on Eccl. Son. 2.21 for this line, taken 'from a MS. written 
about the year 1770, which accidentally fell into my possession.' 

3.36 

1-14 The date of this sonnet is not known. May Wordsworth 
refer to the sympathy aroused in England for those persecuted at 
Nimes in 1815, after the second restoration of the Bourbons? 
Cf. Waddington, W. H., The Protestant Church and Religious Liberty 
in France , in Cambridge Essays, 1856, p. 217: 'It was not till 
March, 1819 [?i8i6] that, in the course of a debate about some 
modification of the electoral law, the whole truth came out. 
... In England much sympathy was aroused, and meetings were 
held in the principal towns in favor of the Protestants. ... In 
May, 1816, Sir Samuel Romilly, himself descended from a French 
refugee, brought the matter before parliament, and moved that an 
address be presented to the Prince Regent, on the subject of the 
persecutions in the South of France; he was ably supported by 
Mr. Brougham. This debate drew general attention to the events 
of Nimes all over Europe, and at last compelled the French 
government to interfere.' Cf. Burnet, Hist. Own Time 3.128-9. 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 299 

3-37 

I See the note on EccL Son. 3.34.1-14. 

2-4 Burnet (Hist. Own Time 3.307 ff.) gives in detail the 
changes of the wind. Finally (ibid. 3.325-7), ' on the first of No- 
vember, O. S., we sailed out with the evening tide; . . . [after 
some vicissitudes] the wind turned into the south, and a soft and 
happy gale of wind carried in the whole fleet in four hours time 
into Torbay.' 

5-6 Wordsworth, note on 3.37: 'See Burnet, who is unusually 
animated on this subject; the east wind, so anxiously expected 
and prayed for, was called the "Protestant wind."' Cf. Burnet, 
op. cit. 3.316. 

6 Burnet (ibid. 3.128) says of the repeal of the Edict of Nantes: 
4 Under so cloudy a prospect it should be expected that a spirit of 
true devotion and of a real reformation should appear more, both 
among the clergy and laity; that they should all apprehend that 
God was highly offended with them, and was therefore punishing 
some, and threatening others, in a most unusual manner.' This 
temper of 'apprehension' hastened affairs in England (ibid. 3.316): 
'The Church party did now show their approbation of the Prince's 
expedition in such terms that many were surprised at it, both then 
and since that time. They spoke openly in favor of it. They 
expressed their grief to see the wind so cross. They wished for an 
east wind, which on that occasion was called the Protestant wind.' 

7 The series of injuries included the following (ibid. 3.16, 59 ff., 
71, 108, 157, 164, 184, 222, 223): Elections of parliament unjustly 
managed by James, 1685; Jeffreys' cruelty on the western circuit 
after the Duke of Monmouth's Rebellion, 1685; James' declaration 
against the tests, 1685; the extra-legal ecclesiastical commission, 
1686; a Popish president in Magdalen College, 1687; Palmer sent 
as ambassador to Rome, 1687; The Declaration of Toleration, 
1687; its renewal, 1688; orders that the clergy read it, 1688. 

3.38 

1 Such 'triumphs' as that near La Hogue, 1692, those of the 
War of Spanish Succession, those of Lord Nelson. 

2 Such 'armies' as that which captured Namur in 1695, that of 
the Duke of Marlborough, or that of the Duke of Wellington. 

7-9 Cf. Desc. Sk. 658. 

9-11 Knight, P. W., Eversley ed., 7.103: 'In 1818, under the 
ministry of Lord Liverpool, 1,000,000 was voted by parliament 
to build new churches in England.' Cf. Postscript, 1835, P. W., 
Oxford ed., pp. 963 ff. 

12-14 Cf. Guilt 21 1, White Doe 2, Ode: Thanks. 205-6, Excursion 
9.726-7. Cf. also the notes on reverberation, 2.27.1-14. 



300 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

3-39 

1-14 Refer to the Advertisement, p. 117, for the circumstances 
of composition. 

5-6 Cf. Journals 1.6, 40, 106, 108, 129, for the hawthorn. 
Wordsworth had chosen a ' hawthorn brake ' for Emily's ' sad words' 
to the Doe (line 877). In this sonnet he may have recalled Dray- 
ton's line (Polyolbion 3.314), which Selden annotated as follows: 
'It goes for current truth that a hawthorn thereby on Christmas 
day always blossometh: which the author tells you in that, "Trees 
yet in winter, &.' Agamemnon's spear ( Iliad 1 1 .256) was avenoTp&t>*s. 

7 Cf. the notes on the latter part of Eccl. Son. 1.4. 

9-10 Journals 1.7. Wordsworth had spoken of the 'function 
apostolical' of the daisy (Bright flower 23). 

12-14 Cf. White Doe 667-9. Fenwick note: 'I have only 
further to observe that the intended church which prompted these 
sonnets was erected on Coleorton Moor towards the centre of a 
very populous parish between three and four miles from Ashby- 
de-la-Zouch, on the road to Loughborough, and has proved, I 
believe, a great benefit to the neighborhood.' 

340 

1-14 With this sonnet Wordsworth takes his place in the 
English tradition begun by the author of The Dream of the Rood. 

1-6 Journals 2.167: 'The priests in their gaudy attire, with 
their young white-robed attendants, made a solemn appearance, 
while clouds of incense were ascending over their heads to the large 
crucifix above the altar; and the "pealing organ" sounded to the 
"full-voiced quire."' Ibid. 2.217: 'It was a moonlight night 
rather a night orf fitful moonshine; for large clouds were driving 
rapidly over the narrow arch of sky above the town. A golden 
cross upon one of the steeples shone forth at times as bright as a 
star in heaven against the black mountain-wall.' Ibid. 2.196: 'By 
degrees (the vapors settling or shifting) other castles were seen on 
island eminences; and the tops of bare or woody hills taking the 
same island form; while trees, resembling ships, appeared and 
disappeared, and rainbow lights (scarcely more visionary than the 
mimic islands) passed over, or for a moment rested on the breaking 
mists.' 

9-10 Wordsworth, note on 3.40: 'The Lutherans have retained 
the Cross within their churches: it is to be regretted that we have 
not done the same.' Knight, P. W., Eversley ed., 7.104: 'It has 
always been retained without, and is now scarcely less common 
within the churches of England. Did the poet confound the Cross 
with the Crucifix?' 

12 Knight, ibid.: 'Cf. Gray's Elegy, stanza 5: 

The breezy call of incense-breathing morn.' 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 301 

341 

1-14 Cf. Epitaphs 2, Prose Works 2.146. 
4-5 Virgil, Georg. 2.471: 'Illic saltus ac lustra ferarum.' 

6 Percy, Reliques, 1864, 1.66-7: 

Then they cast on their gownes of grene, 
And tooke theyr bowes each one; 
And they away to the greene forrest 
A shooting forth are gone. 

7 Refer to The Book of Common Prayer, ed. by Blunt, pp. 
[62]-[6 3 ]. 

12 Ibid., p. 298. 

13 See Epitaphs 2, Prose Works 2.147, for 'the afflictions which 
peasants and rural citizens have to struggle with, . . . the tears 
which they wipe away, and the sighs which they stifle.' 

3.42 

1-14 Dorothy Wordsworth wrote to Samuel Rogers, Jan. 3, 
1823 (Letters 2.200): 'My brother . . . likes best ... in the 
Sketches the succession of those on the Reformation, and those 
towards the conclusion of the third part.' Wordsworth himself 
wrote to Richard Sharp, April 16, [1822] (Letters 2.176): 'The 
Ecclesiastical Sketches labor under one obvious disadvantage, that 
they can only present themselves as a whole to the reader who is 
pretty well acquainted with the history of this country; and, as 
separate pieces, several of them suffer as poetry from the matter 
of fact, there being unavoidably in all history except as it is a 
mere suggestion something that enslaves the fancy. But there 
are in these poems several continuous strains, not in the least 
degree liable to this objection. I will only mention two: the 
sonnets on The Dissolution of the Monasteries, and almost the whole 
of the last part, from the picture of England after the Revolution, 
scattered over with Protestant churches, till the conclusion. Pray 
read again from "Open your gates, ye everlasting Piles" to the 
end.' Cf. Journals 2.163. 

5 'Intricate defile' had been used in Duddon 16.8. Lines 5-10 
of EccL Son. 3.42 are, like many of the lines of Duddon, remarkable 
for the skilful use of phonetic elements. 

10 Cf. Jacob's ladder (Genesis 28.12). 

12 Cf. Dorothy's account of Lincoln (Journals 1.144). 

13 It was 'the death-sounds of the Minster-bell' of York that 
Francis Norton heard when he fled 'from the doleful City.' 

14 Dyer (Hist. Camb. 2.334-7) speaks of the character of Cam. 
Cf. Misc. Son. 3.2.10-11. 



302 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

343 

1-14 Hutchinson, P. W., Oxford ed., p. 451: 'Wordsworth 
appears to have written one at least of these sonnets (3.43-45), 
and perhaps wrote all three, during a visit to his brother Christopher 
(Master of Trinity) at Cambridge, Nov.-Dec., 1820.' For further 
discussion, see p. 28. Cf. Letters 1.21, 374. This sonnet and the 
following recall lines 155-66 of Milton's II Penseroso. 

1 Of the canonization of Henry VI, Dyer says (Hist. Camb. 
2.184): 'Henry VII was in treaty with Pope Julius II, pontiff of 
Rome, for the canonization of Henry VI, but it seems that his 
holiness was for driving a hard bargain, and Henry VII, it is well 
known, was not over-liberal; so, between both, poor Henry was, 
unfortunately, never canonized ; but, though never actually canon- 
ized, he was worshipped as a martyr and saint, miracles were 
wrought by him, while living, and prayers addressed to him after 
death/ Cf. Gray, Ode . . . Eton, quoted by Dyer (ibid. 2.185). 
Eton also was founded by Henry VI. Ibid. 2.181: .'This then is 
the college, which, in honor of the royal founder, is now called 
King's, and which was so well endowed by Henry as to stand in 
little want of future benefactors. ... It should seem that Henry, 
from the first, meditated a foundation worthy of a king.' 

2 Ibid. 2.190-1: 'Nicholas Close, Cloos, or Closse . . . was a 
native of Drybeach, in Westmoreland, archdeacon of Colchester in 
1450. He was chancellor of the University, and Bishop of Carlisle; 
and in 1452 translated to Litchfield and Coventry. He died in 
October following. Besides the other literary qualities ascribed to 
Bishop Close by Bishop Godwin, must be mentioned his skill in 
architecture; and I particularly notice him as having been men- 
tioned by some as overseer and manager of all Henry's intended 
works for this college. This honor has been denied him by a 
modern writer [Dalloway, says Dyer in a note on 2.191]; but it is 
certainly claimed for him in the old histories of the college, and 
several circumstances seem to favor the belief. . . . Though 
certainly he could have no share in the amended plan adopted by 
Henry VII, if my MS. [Cole's History] speaks correctly, Bishop 
Close must be considered the surveyor and manager of these works 
till his death, under Henry VI.' Ibid. 2.204, i n which Dyer quotes 
Dalloway: 'That particular species of architecture and carving 
called "fan-work," which from its extreme cost and delicacy had 
been hitherto confined to cloisters, small chapels, and tombs, was 
now applied to whole roofs, and with an equal defiance of expense 
and labor [cf. lines I and 3] made to supersede all the excellence of 
construction and finishing that had been previously attainable. 
It is a fair conjecture that this new method was either known to 
few of the master-masons, or was too expensive [cf . line i] for frequent 
adoption upon a large scale. Certain it is, that the vaults of 
Windsor [the chapel of St. George], the choir of Winton, Henry 



OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 303 

VII's [Westminster] and King's College chapels, were commenced 
and completed within twenty years, and that no farther attempts 
were subsequently made.' Ibid. 2.205, i n which Dyer quotes an 
explanation of the structure by Dalloway (Observations on English 
Architecture, sect. 8): 'Allowing this to be the case, the length 
ceases to be wonderful, excepting on account of the labor and 
expense' [cf. lines I and 3]. 

3-4 The scholars were clerks of St. Nicholas. Dyer (op. cit. 
2.209) quotes Cole, who gives the original version of a poetical 
account of the founding. Cf. Fuller, Ch. Hist. 1.509, for these 
verses as an instance of 'the bad poetry of that age.' 

5 Dyer (op. cit. 2.202) quotes Dalloway, who considers 'the 
roof of King's College Chapel as the utmost effort of constructive 
skill, and the paragon of architectural beauty.' 

8-12 Cf. Journals 2.274. For a picture of the interior of the 
chapel see p. 58. Dyer's description includes a remark which 
Wordsworth used for lines 9 and 10 (op. cit. 2.200) : 'The admirable 
arched roof, without the support of any pillars, displaying all the 
richness of its fine fan- work.' 

13-14 Ibid. : ' All combine to impress the beholder with emotions 
which can be better felt than expressed.' Cf. Milton, IlPenseroso 164. 

344 

1-2 Dyer, Hist. Camb. 1.240-1: 'In Gothic buildings the great 
variety of windows has a happy effect on the inside perspective, 
for they have within arches and pillars by which the rays of light 
are reflected and intermingled, so as to produce something like 
picturesqueness to the sight.' 

3-8 Ibid. 2.202: 'The stained glass heightens the effect of the 
stone-work, and gives it a tint which can never be produced by 
any wash of lime, with whatever substance it may be combined, 
when the light passes through diminutive squares of raw white 
glass.' For 'Portraitures' and 'light' see // Penseroso 149 and 
159-60. 

9-14 Dorothy Wordsworth's Journals (2.169-70 and 181) con- 
tain descriptions of cathedral music as it affected the tourists 
of 1820. Cf. Wordsworth's 'eye' and 'ecstacy' with Milton's 
'eyes' and 'exstacies' (op. cit. 165-6). 

345 



O'tO 

1-14 Refer to the Introduction, pp. 10-14. 
2-3 Cf. Letters 1.349. 
4-14 Cf. Prelude 7.129-31. 



304 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

346 

1-14 ' Christ, the true Sun, . . . the supreme, everlasting Power 
of Heaven': so Stillingfleet (Orig. Brit., pp. 4-5) translates Gildas. 
Cf. also imagery in Burnet, Sacred Theory of the Earth. 

3 Psalm 19.4: 'In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun.' 

4 Homer, Iliad 1.482: iroptypeov. 

5-6 Wordsworth, note on 3.46: 'Some say that Monte Rosa 
takes its name from a belt of rock at its summit a very unpoetical 
and scarcely a probable supposition.' 

9-11 Cf. Eccl. Son. 3.20.12. 

12-14 Cf. Journals 2.197, J 99- 

347 

1-5 Virgil, Georg. 3424: 'Tardosque . . . sinus.' 

5-9 See pp. 62-78 for a full discussion of the 'Holy river.' Cf. 
also Duddon, especially 33.9-14. 

10 Cf. Eccl. Son. 3.1 ; the reference to the 'eternal City' (line 13) 
suggests that Wordsworth had in mind the Revelation of St. John. 

11-12 Cf. Convention of Cintra, Prose Works 1.212: 'So the 
domestic loves and sanctities, . . . wherever they have flowed with 
a pure and placid stream, do instantly under the same influence 
[intense passion consecrated by a sudden revelation of justice], 
put forth their strength as in a flood; and, without being sullied 
or polluted, pursue exultingly and with song a course which 
leads the contemplative reason to the ocean of eternal love.' 

13-14 Cf. Epitaphs 3, ibid. 2.189, where, among the resources 
of the deaf dalesman is the 

word of Holy Writ 
Announcing immortality and joy 
To the assembled spirits of the just, 
From imperfection and decay secure. 

See the Introduction, pp. 9-10, for a discussion of Wordsworth's 
conception of 'justice.' The last word of Eccl. Son. is an echo of 
Plato's Republic, Dante's Divina Commedia, and Milton's Paradise 
Lost, although Wordsworth's immediate text is Hebrews 12.23: 'To 
the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are writ- 
ten in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of 
just men made perfect.' 



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The Annotated Book of Common Prayer, ed. by Blunt. London, 
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Bowles, W. L., Sonnets. 9th edition. 1805. 

, The Grave of the Last Saxon; or, The Legend of the Curfew. 

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British Poets, The Works of the, ed. by Anderson. 13 vols. 
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Broughton, L. N., The Theocritean Element in the Works of Wil- 
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Bryce, J., The Holy Roman Empire. New York, 1904. 

Burnet, G., History of His Own Time. 2nd edition enlarged. 6 
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, History of the Reformation. 3 vols. Oxford, 1816. 

Burnet, T., Sacred Theory of the Earth. 7th edition. 2 vols. Lon- 
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Camden, W., Britain, tr. by Holland. London, 1637. 

Chaucer, Works, ed. by Skeat. 7 vols. Oxford, 1894. 

Chetwind, J., Anthologia Historica. London, 1674. 

Clarendon, History of the Rebellion- 7 vols. Oxford, 1849. 

Coleridge, S. T., Biographia Literaria, ed. by Shawcross. 
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, Letters, ed. by E. H. Coleridge. 2 vols. Boston, 1895. 

Cooper, L., A Concordance to the Poems of William Wordsworth. 
London, 1911. 

Daniel, S., The Collection of the History of England, in Works, 
ed. by Grosart. Vols. 4 and 5. London, 1896. 

Dante, Inferno, Temple Classics edition. London, 1919. 

Davies, E., Celtic Researches on the Origin, Traditions, and 
Language of the Ancient Britons. London, 1804. 

, The Mythology and Rites of the British Druids. London, 
1809. 

21 305 



306 THE ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS 

Doane, G. W., The Path of the Just, A Sermon in Commem- 
oration of Bishop White. Burlington, 1836. 

Drayton, M., Complete Works, ed. by Hooper. 3 vols. London, 
1876. 

Dyer, G., History of the University and Colleges of Cambridge. 
2 vols. London, 1814. 

Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, tr. by Hanmer. 1585. 

Foxe, J., Acts and Monuments. 2 vols. London, 1610. 

Fuller, T., The Church History of Britain. 3 voll. London, 1837. 

, The History of the Holy War. 2nd edition. Cambridge, 

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Ganganelli (Pope Clement XIV), Letters. 2 vols. Dublin, 1793. 

Harper, G. M., William Wordsworth: His Life, Works, and 
Influence. 2 vols. New York, 1916. 

Heylin, P., Cyprianus Anglicanus: or, the History of the Life 
and Death of the most Reverend and Renowned Prelate, William 
[Laud]. London, 1671. 

Homer, Iliad, ed. by Leaf. 2 vols. London, 1886. 

, Iliad, tr. by Lang, Leaf, and Myers. London, 1911. 

Knight, W., The Life of William Wordsworth. 3 vols. Edin- 
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Lamb, C., Works, ed. by Macdonald. 12 vols. London, 1903. 

Letters of the Wordsworth Family, ed. by Knight. 3 vols. Lon- 
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Lienemann, K., Die Belesenheit von William Wordsworth. Ber- 
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Milton, Poetical Works, ed. by Beeching. Oxford, 1910. 

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Vol. 5. London, 1851. Other prose works in the edition of St. 
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Minto, W., Wordsworth's Great Failure, in the Nineteenth Century 
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Percy, T., Reliques of Ancient English Poetry. 3 vols. Edin- 
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Robinson, H. C., Diary, Reminiscences, and Correspondence, ed. 
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Six Old English Chronicles, ed. by Giles. London, 1848. 

Smith, Charlotte, Elegiac Sonnets, gth edition. London, '1800. 

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Stillingfleet, E., Origines Britannicae. London, 1685. 

Stow, J., Annals, or a General Chronicle of England. London, 
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Strype, J., Life and Acts of Matthew Parker. 2 vols. Oxford, 
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vols. London, 1820. * 

Virgil, Opera, ed. by Hirtzel. Oxford, 1900. 

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INDEX 



[All titles are listed under the name of the author except poetical and prose 
works of Wordsworth, certain books of the Bible, and certain works of unknown, 
doubtful, or collective authorship. Names of persons mentioned or clearly 
indicated in the text of the Ecclesiastical Sonnets are within parentheses referred 
to their places in the text. References to William Wordsworth, and to the 
Ecclesiastical Sonnets, entire or in part, have been omitted.] 



Acts, 208, 290. 

Advertisement to Lyrical Ballads, 

15, 19- 

yElla (1.13.13), 126, 222. 
^Eschylus, 17. 

Alban (1.6.9), 39, 83, 122, 214. 
Album: Lady Mary Lowther, 25. 
Alexander III, Pope (1.38.2); 25, 

93, 97, 138, 245. 
Alford, 17. 
Alfred (1.26.2, 1.27.2), 3, 4, 27, 60, 

63, 66, 132, 133, 189, 233, 234, 

237; Orpheus and Eurydice, 234; 

Preface to Gregory's Pastoral 

Care, 233. 
Allsop, 27. 
Aneurin, Gododin (i.io.i), 124, 217, 

218. 

Annales of Rome, 24. 
Anselm, 26, 239. 
Aquinas, 251. 
Argonautica, 24. 
Aristotle, 251, 264; Poetics, 71. 
Armstrong, 78; Art of Preserving 

Health, 265. 

Artegal and Elidure, 24, 281. 
Arthur (1.10.6), 124, 218. 
Augustine of Canterbury (1.14.6), 

60, 66, 126, 221, 225, 226, 228, 

236. 
Augustine of Hippo, 4, 248; De 

Civitate Dei, 4. 



Bacon, 4, 7; Advancement of Learn- 
ing, 251; Of Adversity, 281. 

Baker, Chronicle, 252, 257, 269, 271. 

Barstow, Wordsworth's Theory of 
Poetic Diction, 5 n. 

Battle of Brunanburh, 219. 

Beaumont, 13, 37, 117. 

Becket (1.37.9)1 91, 138. 

Bede (1.23.4), 3, 4, 24, 25, 26, 27, 
38, 131, 189, 205, 225, 230, 
231; Ecclesiastical History, 3, 39, 

42, 205, 212, 214, 215, 216, 217, 
218, 219, 221, 222, 223, 224, 225, 
226, 227, 228, 229, 230, 231, 232, 
233, 235, 240, 260, 275, 282, 285. 

Berengaria (1.35.5), *37, 242. 

Bernard, 26, 248, 249, 251. 

Bible (1.29.5, 2-9- 11 , 2.10.2, 2.12.2- 
4, 2.29.1, 2.40.6, 2.41.6, 3.29-11, 
3.47.2), 17, 24, 77, 143, 144, 145, 
153, 159, 176, 185, 213, 233, 266^ 
267, 268, 304. 

Boethius, Consolation of Philosophy^ 
251. 

Book of Common Prayer (see Lit- 
urgy). 

Borderers, 5, 7, n, 274. 

Bowles, Grave of the Last Saxon, 239, 
240; Sonnet on the River Rhine l 
288. 

Bradwardine, 26, 251. 

Bright flower, 300. 



309 



310 



INDEX 



Brocmail (Brocvail), 220. 

Broughton, Theocritean Element in 
the Works of William Wordsworth, 
229. 

Browne, 7. 

Brownie's Cell, 229. 

Bruges, I, 262. 

Bryce, Holy Roman Empire, 4. 

Brydges, 22. 

Burke, 9, 21. 

Burnet, G., 24, 25, 205; History of 
His Own Time, 39, 275, 277, 279, 
280, 281, 283, 284, 285, 286, 
287, 288, 298, 299; History of the 
Reformation, 39, 269, 271. 

Burnet, T., Sacred Theory of the 
Earth, 209, 304. 

Burns, 78. 

Caedmon, 26. 

Caesar, Julius (1.3.10), 121, 210. 

Camden, 24; Britain, 205, 230. 

Camoens, 22. 

Canute (1.30.3), 63, 66, 134, 190, 
2 38, 239; Ballad, 134, 238. 

Caractacus (1.10.3), I2 4, 187. 

Carter, editor of Wordsworth, 58. 

Cato, De Re Rustica, 238; Origines, 
24. 

Catullus, 77. 

Cavendish, Life of Cardinal Wolsey, 

259- 
Charles I (2.44, 2.46.10), 37, 38, 60, 

88, 161, 162, 198, 278, 279, 280. 
Charles II (3.3), 37, 38, 63, 69, 94, 

95, 163, 280, 281. 
Chaucer (2.31.2), 3, 8, 20, 154, 196, 

205, 268; Canterbury Tales, 4; 

Nun 1 s Priest 1 s Tale, 251 ; Prioress' 

Tale, 154, 253, 268. 
Chetwind, Anthologia Historica, 239, 

240. 
Chiabrera, 19. 



Chicheley (2.15.9, 2.16.2), 85, 146, 

147, 257- 

Child, English and Scottish Popular 
Ballads, 267. 

Clarendon, History of the Rebellion, 
281. 

Clement XIV, Pope (Ganganelli), 
Letters, 247, 248. 

Close (343-8), 59, 183, 302. 

Coleridge, H., 22. 

Coleridge, S. T., 2, n, 22, 26, 27, 
78, 209, 291 ; Biographia Literaria, 
78, 216; Letters, 2. 

Comestor, Franciscus, editor of 
Bernard, 249. 

Concordance to the Poems of William 
Wordsworth (see Cooper). 

Constable, Diana: To the King of 
Scots, 282. 

Convent of the Sacred Heart, New 
York City, 248. 

Convention of Cintra, 4, 7, 9, 10, 12, 
234, 235, 244, 254, 267, 304. 

Cook, Chaucerian Papers I, 77. 

Cooper, 251; Concordance to the 
Poems of William Wordsworth, 
206, 210, 259, 267; On Words- 
worth's Joanna, 265 ; Wordsworth's 
Knowledge of Plato, 282 ; Words- 
worth: Variant Readings, 200. 

Corinthians I, 177, 287, 296. 

Cowley, 273; Ode upon His Maj- 
esty 1 s Restoration and Return, 281. 

Cowper, 3, 21. 

Coxe, Travels in Switzerland, 277. 

Cranmer, G., Letter to Hooker, 273, 
275, 276, 287. 

Cranmer, T. (2.35.4), 25, 37, 63, 
106, 156, 264, 266, 269, 270, 271, 
289. 

Cromwell (3.7.2), 165, 279, 284. 

Cyclic poems, 24. 

Daniel, Book of, 211. 



INDEX 



311 



Daniel, S., 24, 25, 205, 220; Civil 
War, 239 ; Collection of the History 
of England, 205, 212, 216, 218, 219, 

221, 222, 228, 234, 235, 239, 242, 
243, '244, 246, 247, 252, 266; 

Musophilus, 243. 

Dante, 4, 15, 27, 205; Divina Corn- 
media, 4, 22, 62, 71, 304; Inferno, 
1 8, 233, 238; Paradiso, 17, 20, 

253; 

Darwin, 216. 

Davies, Celtic Researches, 24, 209, 
210, 21 1 ; Mythology and Rites of 
the British Druids, 24, 207, 208, 

2O9, 2IO, 211, 212, 217, 2l8, 219, 
22O. 

Denham, Verses on the Death of 

Cowley, 268. 
Dennis, 18. 
Departing summer, 10. 
Description of the Scenery of the 

Lakes, 7, 16, 64, 65, 78, 206, 208, 

209, 217, 229, 277, 291. 
Descriptive Sketches, 245, 246, 255, 

299; Quarto, n. 
Deuteronomy, 272. 
Digby, Broadstone of Honour, 247; 

Mores Catholici, 26, 247. 
Diocletian (1.6. l), 83, 122, 213, 214. 
Doane, 32, 38, 52, 288; Sermon in 

Commemoration of Bishop White, 

288, 289. 

Donne (3.5), 22, 24, 164, 280, 283. 
Dowden, editor of Wordsworth, 29, 

30; Memoir of Wordsworth, 2. 
Drayton, 24; Agincourt, 257, 258; 

Polyolbion, 205, 207, 208, 211, 

212, 218, 219, 257, 262, 300. 

Dream of the Rood (Old English), 

300. 
Dryden, 3; Absalom and Achitophel, 

279; Astraa Redux, 278, 281; 



Song for St. Cecilia 1 s Day, 

263. 
Duddon, 10, 50, 78, 205, 229, 291, 

30i, 304- 

Duns Scotus, 251. 
Dunstan (1.28.6), 133, 236, 237. 
Duty, 6. 
Dyer, G., 24, 25, 205; History of 

Cambridge, 28, 42, 205, 238, 243, 

251, 252, 253, 261, 273, 277, 283, 

284, 297, 298, 301, 302, 303. 
Dyer, J . , Fleece, 212; Ruins of Rome, 

265. 

Ecclesiastes, 275. 
Ecclesiasticus, 276. 
Edward the Confessor (1.31.1), 135, 

240. 
Edward III (2.7.9), I4 2 , 251, 252, 

253- 
Edward VI (2.31.8, 2.32), 63, 154, 

I55> 196, 268, 269, 272. 
Edwin (1.15.2, 1.16.1), 84, 127, 223, 

224, 225'. 

Egyptian Maid, 280. 
Eikon Basilike, attributed to Charles 

I, 279, 280. 
Elizabeth (2.38.1), 27, 37, 57, 63, 

68, 76, 103, 158, 273, 275. 
Ennius, 24. 
Epitaphs, 10, 16, 19, 219, 222, 228, 

247, 253, 263, 301, 304. 
Essay Supplementary, 15, 21, 22, 

268. 
Ethelforth (Ethelfrith, Ethelfrid), 

220, 221. 

Eusebius, 207, 212; Ecclesiastical 
History, 213, 214, 215, 255. 

Evening Walk, 246. 

Excursion, 7, 8, 14, 15, 206, 209, 
228, 229, 231, 235, 237, 247, 249, 
263, 285, 292, 299. 

Exodus, 241, 279. 

Ezekiel, 62, 290. 



312 



INDEX 



Fact, A, and an Imagination, 233, 
238. 

Fasti of Rome, 24. 

Fenwick Notes, 25, 117, 245, 278, 
280. 

Fisher (2.26.8), 152, 264. 

Fort Fuentes, 261. 

Foxe, 24, 25, 205; Acts and Monu- 
ments, 36, 245, 246, 268, 270, 271. 

Frederick Barbarossa (1.38.2), 25, 
37, 93, 97, 138, 245, 246. 

Frederick II, Emperor, 246. 

Freeholders of Westmoreland, To the, 
235, 236, 254, 276, 298. 

Fuller, 24, 25, 205, 220; Church 
History, 39, 207, 211, 214, 216, 
218, 224, 225, 230, 231, 235, 236, 
237, 239, 242, 243, 244, 247, 251, 
257, 258, 260, 261, 262, 263, 264, 
266, 267, 268, 269, 270, 271, 272, 
277, 303; Holy War, 35, 36, 48, 
205, 240, 241, 242, 243, 246, 253, 
254, 255, 256. 

Gardiner, Great Civil War, 25. 

Genesis, 301. 

Geoffrey of Monmouth, Historia 
Britonum, 205, 212, 217, 218. 

Germanus, 219, 222, 225. 

Giles, Preface to Six Old English 
Chronicles, 218. 

Glen Almain, 229. 

Graves, 17. 

Gray, Bard, 219; Elegy written in a 
Country Churchyard, 300; Hymn to 
Adversity, 281; Ode: Eton, 302; 
Progress of Poesy, 206. 

Greek tragedies, 24. 

Green Linnet, 297. 

Gregory I, Pope (1.13.7), 4, 2 7, 66, 
126, 221, 226, 228; Commentary 
on Job, 222. 

Gregory VII, Pope, 245. 

Guericius, Sermones, 249. 



Guilt and Sorrow, 5, n, 211, 263, 

274, 299. 
Habakkuk, 290. 
Hanmer, translator of Eusebius' 

Ecclesiastical History, 213, 214, 

215, 255- 

Happy Warrior, 3, 6, 7. 

Harper, William Wordsworth, 2, 12, 
25, 294. 

Hebrews, 267, 268, 304. 

Henry II (1.37.9), 37, 138, 244. 

Henry IV, Emperor, 245. 

Henry V (2.15.6), 26, 37, 85, 146, 
257,258. 

Henry VI (343-i), 59, 183, 302. 

Henry VIII (2.29.9), 26, 67, 153, 
264, 266. 

Herbert (3.5), 24, 164, 283; The 
Temple: The Church Porch, 45, 
119. 

Heylin, H., Dedication to Cypri- 
anus Anglicanus, 63. 

Heylin, P., 24; Cyprianus Angli- 
canus, 205, 254, 275, 276, 278, 279. 

Highland Girl, 280. 

Homer, 3, 17, 24, 205; Iliad, 220, 
259, 272, 276, 300, 304. 

Homilia de Bonis Margaritis, attrib- 
uted to Bernard (2.3.1-5), 140, 
248. 

Hooker (2.39.4, 3-32.14), 8, 24, 89, 
158, 164, 178, 273, 274, 275, 282, 
283, 292, 296; Ecclesiastical Pol- 
ity, 275. 

Horace, 77; Carmina, 206. 

Hume, 205, 278. 

Hutchinson, editor of Wordsworth, 
22, 27, 29, 30, 293, 302. 

// thou indeed, 45. 

Inscriptions, 46, 243. 

Inscriptions: Hermit's Cell, 229. 

In Youth, 2 

Isaiah, 253." 



INDEX 



313 



Itinerary Poems of 1833, 30, 40, 104, 

105, 212. 

Itinerary Sonnets, 50. 

James II (3.9.13), 38, 68, 166, 285, 

286, 299. 

Jeremiah, 213, 219, 275, 290. 
Jewel (2.39.3), 89, 158, 274, 275. 
Joan of Kent (2.32), 155, 269. 
Joanna, 265. 
John, Gospel, 230, 253. 
John, King of England (1.37.10), 

37,91, 138,244,247. 
Joseph of Arimathea (2.21.14), J 49, 

208, 262. 
Judges, 279. 
Juvenal, 210, 252. 
Keble, Christian Year, 292. 
Kilchurn, 242. 
Knight, editor of Wordsworth, 29, 

30, 31, 188, 191, 192, 193, 195, 

200, 201, 202, 203, 204, 221, 235, 

241, 264, 266, 277, 280, 282, 283, 

285, 292, 294, 299, 300; Life of 

William Wordsworth, 27. 
Lamb, 205, 258. 
Lamentacion of Marie Magdaleine, 

in Anderson's British Poets listed 

as Chaucerian, 263. 
Landor, 20. 
Lanfranc, 26, 239. 
Laodamia, i, 8. 
Latimer (2.34.2), 45, 156, 270. 
Laud (2.45.3, 2.46.10, 3.32.13), 25, 

63, 68, 161, 162, 178, 198, 278, 

279, 296. 
Legouis, 2. 

Letter to a Friend of Burns, 283. 
Letter to Pasley, 16, 19. 
Letter to the Bishop of Llandajf, g, 

228, 242. 
Lienemann, Belesenheit von William 

Wordsworth, 282. 



Liturgy (3.16, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 
25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32.1, 
41.12, 46.10-11), 24, 170, 171, 
172, 173, 174, 175, 176, 177, 178, 
182, 185, 270, 290, 292, 293, 294, 
295, 296, 301. 

Long Meg, 28, 104, 105, 209, 210. 

Longfellow, translator of Dante, 238. 

Lonsdale, the first Lord, MS. Mem- 
oirs, 220, 285. 

Lucretius, 77; De Rerum Natura, 
206. 

Luke, 282. 

Luther (2.37.4), 95, 157, 255, 256. 

Lycoris, 254. 

Lyrical Ballads, 4, 5, 50. 

Mabillon, editor of Bernard, 248, 
249. 

Macpherson, Ossian, 20. 

Mahomet (2.27.11), 152, 265, 266. 

Malham, 8, 206. 

Mary Tudor, Queen of England 
(2.33.7, 2.34.1), 37, 60, 155, 156, 
269, 270, 273, 274. 

Maternal Grief, 228. 

Matthew, 128, 225, 253, 290. 

Meek Virgin, 263. 

Melville, Introduction to the Ecclesi- 
astical Sonnets of Wordsworth, 207, 

2O8, 2IO, 212. 

Memorials of a Tour in Scotland, 
1803, 46. 

Memorials of a Tour in Scotland, 
1814, 46. 

Memorials of a Tour on the Conti- 
nent, 1820, 13, 29, 30, 35, 36, 39, 
40, 42, 44, 46, 83, 90, 91, 96, 97, 
102, 186, 197, 199, 200, 244, 246, 
277. 

Michael, 235, 274. 

Michelangelo, 22, 209; Sonnets, 20. 

Milton (3.4.6, 3.7.2), 3, 17, 21, 22, 
23, 24, 25, 27, 50, 69, 164, 282; 



314 



INDEX 



Apology, 290; Comus, 230, 282; 
Defensio Prima, 254, 279; Defen- 
sio Secunda, 280; Eikonoclastes, 
278, 279, 280, 281; History of 
Britain, 24, 210, 218, 233; Hymn 
on the Morning of Christ's Nativity, 
241, 247, 260, 262, 263, 265; // 
Penseroso, 300, 302,303; Lycidas, 
261; Of Reformation, 229, 254, 
256, 259, 267; Paradise Lost, 4, 
17, 205, 206, 209, 212, 226, 231, 
237, 247, 257, 266, 267, 268, 269, 
272, 274, 279, 282, 288, 290, 294, 
304; Paradise Regained, 248; 
Piemont, 165, 269, 284; Reason 
of Church Government, 267, 275, 
280; Samson Agonistes, 238; Song 
on May Morning, 268. 

Minto, Wordsworth in Encyclopedia 
Britannica, 2 ; Wordsworth 's Great 
Failure, 4, 7, 8. 

Miscellaneous Sonnets, 22, 30, 36, 
37, 40, 45, 50, 86, 94, 107, 206, 
231, 237, 252, 256, 262, 291, 292, 
301. 

Montalembert, Monks of the West, 
26, 251. 

More (2.26.8), 4, 25, 152, 264. 

Nsevius, 24. 

Nichols, Collection, 33, 34. 

Nith, 297. 

Oak of Guernica, 235. 

Ode 1814, 206, 214, 263. 

Ode 1815, 265. 

Ode: Thanksgiving, 8, 299. 

Osgood, Spenser's English Rivers, 
205. 

Ossian, 3. 

Ossian, 3, 262. 

Pandolphus (1.37.12), 91, 244. 

Paul (1.2.6), 81, 82, 120, 208, 267. 

Paulinus (1.15), 63, 66, 127, 188, 
223. 



Peele Castle, 6. 

Percy, Reliques, 301. 

Personal Talk, 232. 

Peter (1.2.9), 8l > I2 o, 208, 262, 276. 

Peter Bell, 5, n, 210, 274. 

Petrarch, 22. 

Pilgrim's Dream, 283. 

Plato, 282 ; Republic, 4, 304. 

Plea: Historian, 15. 

Pliny, Natural History, 238. 

Poems, Chiefly of Early and Late 
Years, 43, 53, 186, 200. 

Poems Dedicated to National Inde- 
pendence and Liberty, 46, 48, 205, 

255. 

Poems of 1807, 4, 22. 
Poems of Sentiment and Reflection, 

46. 
Poems on the Naming of Places, 5, 

46. 

Political Sonnets, 50. 
Postscript of 1835, 14, 18, 299. 
Potts, Wordsworth and the Bramble, 

261. 

Power of Sound, 56. 
Preface of 1800, 2, 5, 15, 292. 
Preface of 1815, 2, 17, 18, 21. 
Preface to The Excursion, 12. 
Prelude, 2, 5, 6, 8, 9, 12, 210, 211, 

229, 230, 249, 252, 253, 256, 290, 

293, 303. 

Prelude to Poems, Chiefly of Early 
and Late Years, 3. 

Primrose, 9. 

Prioress' Tale, 209, 268. 

Processions, 246. 

Proverbs, 289. 

Psalms, 77, 206, 274, 279, 280, 284, 
296, 304. 

Ramond, translator of Coxe's Trav- 
els in Switzerland, 277. 

Recluse, 5, 7, 8, 12, 231. 



INDEX 



315 



Reed, 32, 38, 41, 44, 50, 52, 54, 55, 

288, 289, 290. 
Reply to the Letter of Mathetes, 3, 20, 

268, 273, 278. 

Resolution and Independence, 229. 
Revelation, 62, 268, 276, 292, 304. 
Richard I (1.35.2), 26, 63, 66, 137, 

242, 243. 

Ridley (2.34.2), 45, 156, 269, 270. 
Rising in the North, ballad, 267. 
Robinson, 25; Diary, 14, 16, 20. 
Russell, T., 22. 

Russell, W. (3.10.4), 167, 286. 
Sacheverell (3.11.4), 25, 63, 69, 167, 

287, 288. 

Sanderson (3.5), 164, 283. 
Scott, 20, 26, 71. 
Seabury, Brief View of the Origin 

and Results of Episcopacy in the 

United States of America, 289, 290. 
Sellar, A. M., translator of Bede's 

Ecclesiastical History, 24. 
Sellar, W. Y., Virgil, 24. 
Shakespeare, 15, 21, 22; Henry V, 

257; Henry VIII, 259; Macbeth, 

293; Measure for Measure, 246; 

Midsummer- Night's Dream, 229; 

Romeo and Juliet, 264; Tempest, 

4- 

Sidney, A. (3.10.3), 167, 286. 
Sidney, P., Astropheland Stella, 237. 
Simonides, 10. 
Slattery, 248. 

Smart, Sonnets of Milton, 21, 23. 
Smith, Charlotte, Elegiac Sonnets 

and Other Poems, 206, 209, 246. 
Smith, N. C., editor of Wordsworth, 

29, 30, 241, 255, 284, 294. 
Sonnets of William Wordsworth, 43, 

49. 
Southey, 22, 117; All for Love, 294; 

Book of the Church, 117, 211,248; 

Elegy on Delia, 246. 



Speculum Religiosum, 248. 

Spenser, 4, 17, 21, 27, 205; Epithala- 
mion, 175, 294; Faerie Queene, 
132, 206, 232, 273; Hymn of 
Heavenly Love, 268; Prothala- 
mion, 252 ; Ruins of Time, 298. 

St. Bees, 29, 47, 48, 54, 250. 

St. John, Collection, 30, 31, 32, 33, 
34, 289, 290. 

Stillingfleet, 24, 205; Origines Bri- 
tannicae, 24, 207, 208, 211, 212, 

215, 217, 219, 261, 304. 

Stow, 24; Chronicle, 24, 240, 252, 
253, 259, 263, 265, 269. 

Strype, 205; Life and Acts of Mat- 
thew Parker, 275, 276, 277. 

Taliesin (1.5.10), 122, 125, 208, 211, 
212, 218, 219, 220, 221. 

Tasso, 22. 

Thelwell, 14. 

Theocritus, Idyls, 230. 

Time's Telescope, 188, 189, 195, 204. 

Tintern Abbey, I. 

Triad, 262. 

Tro sacks, 19. 

Turner, 24, 25, 38, 205; History of 
the Anglo-Saxons, 39, 42, 211, 212, 

216, 217, 2l8, 219, 22O, 221, 223, 
228, 231, 232, 233, 234, 235, 236, 
237, 238, 239, 240, 250, 251, 252, 
262. 

Two Voices, 259. 

Urban II, Pope (1.33.1), 136, 241. 

Urien (1.10.9), I2 4, 218. 

Valdo (2.11.9), 144. H5, 193, 254, 

255. 

Varro, 24. 

Vaudracour and Julia, 227. 
Venetian Republic, 255. 
Vernal Ode, 293. 
Vinci da, 20. 
Virgil, 4, 8, 24, 27, 77, 78, 205; 

Mneid, 4, 20, 216, 225, 226, 231, 



316 



INDEX 



246, 253; Eclogues, 4, 206, 229, 

230, 246, 253, 293; Georgics, 4, 

206, 214, 235, 259, 301, 304. 
Volney, Les Ruines, 298. 
Waddington, Protestant Church and 

Religious Liberty in France, 298. 
Walton (3.5-14), 21, 24, 25, 27, 45, 

164, 205, 209, 210; Lives, 24, 48, 

255, 272, 273, 274, 275, 276, 280, 

282, 283, 287, 292, 296. 
Weever, 7; Funeral Monuments, 

248, 263. 

Westminster Bridge, 1 1 . 
Westmoreland Girl, 256. 
When in, 263. 
When, to, 6. 
Whitaker, 24, 25, 205; History of 

Craven, 249, 251, 263, 296, 297; 

History of Whalley, 248. 
White, 51, 52, 69, 169, 288, 289, 290. 
White Doe, 5, 6, 7, 22, 46, 50, 223, 

228, 232, 235, 241, 246, 251, 253, 

265, 267, 273, 279, 280, 282, 285, 

298, 299, 300, 301. 
William III (3.9.4, 3.37.3), 37, 63, 

69, 73, 96, 166, 180, 286, 299. 
Williams, 22. 
Winchelsea, Aristomenes, 235; Tree, 

235. 

Wolsey (2.18), 26, 259, 260. 
Woodford, Verses to Mr. Isaak 

Walton, 275. 
Wordsworth, Anne (3.22.9), 173, 

293- 



Wordsworth, Christopher, Bishop of 
Lincoln, Memoirs of William 
Wordsworth, 3, 10, n, 17, 18, 19, 
20, 21, 22, 23, 49, 57, 229, 275, 
289, 292, 293. 

Wordsworth, Christopher, Master of 
Trinity, 302 ; Ecclesiastical Biog- 
raphy, 37, 38, 39, 259, 264, 268, 
270. 

Wordsworth, Dora (3.1.1), 162, 280. 

Wordsworth, Dorothy, 12, 28, 29, 
246, 294; Journals, 2, 8, n, 71, 
206, 214, 227, 229, 235, 244, 249, 
254, 257, 261, 262, 266, 268, 273, 
277, 283, 288, 297, 298, 300, 301, 
303, 304. 

Wordsworth, Gordon, Boyhood of 
Wordsworth, n. 

Wordsworth, John, brother of Wil- 
liam, 6, 209. 

Wordsworth, John, nephew of Wil- 
liam, 49. 

Wordsworth, Mary, 31, 41, 209, 244, 
295; Journal, 277. 

Wotton (3.5), 48, 164, 255, 272, 273, 
283. 

Wrangham, II, 20; Destruction of 
Babylon, 232; Restoration of the 
Jews, 232; Ruins of Rome, 298. 

Wyclif (2.17.2), 37, 39, 63, 67, 88, 
147, 209, 220, 256, 258, 268. 

Yarrow Revisited, And Other Poems, 
43, 47, 186, 192, 193. 

Zephaniah, 290. 






WORDSWORTH, WILUAK. 

The ecclesiastical sonnets 



PR 

5S66. 
.P6